Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘States' Rights’ Category

2013 is already upon us, and three days in things are headed downhill. Congress just passed a bill to respond to the so-called “fiscal cliff” by increasing EVERYONE’S taxes at least a little bit, and a lot if you have a high income (note: if your money comes from investments and assets, such as Warren Buffett, your taxes will be unchanged). More battles will come up on the debt ceiling, automatic defense cuts, and future budget deals (if any come), and no doubt the partisanship will continue.

Delaware has its own problems to deal with: unfunded pension liabilities, out of control Medicaid spending, bad deals with Fisker and Bloom Energy, education performances moving sideways and not up, and taxes such as the gross receipts taxes which harm business growth. These are just a sample of the issues facing the state. While CRI would like to resolve every major issue within the state, that is not very likely.

Therefore CRI will spend 2013 focusing on three elements: improving education standards, discouraging corporate subsidies, and preventing the state from passing any legislation which pushes single-payer healthcare by abolishing private healthcare insurance.

Education reform will be CRI’s top priority in 2013. There is general consensus that the education system as currently structured is not serving the students well, particularly those in areas like Wilmington and Dover, where parents usually do not have the  financial means to send their children off to private schools, and who cannot be guaranteed a slot in the charter schools due to bureaucratic processes. CRI is calling for legislative actions to allow the money to “follow the student”, where parents have options such as Education Savings Accounts (ESA) that give parents the financial opportunity to choose where they want to educate their child. We hope to inform and engage the public and the legislators into some serious action this year that will give students a big victory for their future.

Our second goal is to reduce, if not eliminate, subsidies for preferred businesses and special interest friends of the government. Bloom Energy and Fisker Automotive are two prime examples of the government handing over “subsidies” for “investment” in these companies, meaning hundreds of millions in tax dollars to give to these companies, money we will in reality never receive payback for. There is no industry in Delaware receiving taxpayer money that can be said to be worth the corporate welfare. Our aim is to educate the public and legislators, and push Delaware to either reduce/eliminate current government subsidies to preferred parties, or else to agree to prohibit future government subsidies via “corporate welfare”.

Our third goal will be to discourage the Legislature from passing any bill which bans private health insurance in favor of “single payer” government. While CRI acknowledges the issues in containing healthcare costs, such as Tort reform, allowing insurance to be purchased across state lines, and using means-tested methods to determine who qualifies for Medicare or Medicaid as opposed to just handing it out to anyone who asks, there is no way the government can raise all the taxes needed to pay for this without destroying job opportunities or sending them out of state. Plus, the government will not be able to manage the insurance aspects of healthcare policy without setting up a massive, inefficient bureaucracy, just like they do with everything else.

What do you think? Are there any goals CRI should work for that are no mentioned above?

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Wednesday the House Education Committee tabled HB 380.  The purpose of this bill is to revise the Delaware Charter School law by among other things requiring charter school applications be submitted to local school boards for review and consideration, require a face-to-face meeting with the charter school applicant to review and discuss the application, requiring statements about the impact on school district enrollment and financial programs, and eliminating five mile draw boundary.

The objectives of HB 380 seem reasonable until questions from House Members and testimony by the Charter Schools Network, CRI, Department of Education and other interested groups pointed out issues with the bill. Problems that include the application process, impact statements, administration of lotteries, the emphasis on the system taking focus away from the student, the logistical impact on families that would have made teacher and parent interaction difficult if not impossible for some, and the potential for influence  by unions and other special interest groups with specific agendas.

 

Rep Jaques’ intent was to start a conversation about Charter Schools and to promote a more civil discourse. He accomplished his purpose and after hearing all the discussion decided the bill should be tabled.

The focus now switches to Rep Schooley’s ‘blue ribbon’ committee on Charter Schools. She briefly outlined her plan at the end of the discussion on the Charter School Bill.

CRI is disappointed she continues to focus on one small part of the overall education system. A part that is less than 10% of the total K-12 enrollment, has some really stunning successes, and has a 58% minority enrollment. We agree they can be even better however they do not deserve the attention given them particularly when the larger problem of how poorly prepared students are for college or careers.

The focus must be on how to improve the education experience and results for all children in the total system including charter schools.

Over the past few years across the country there has been a revolution in innovation. Charter schools were created nearly twenty years ago to improve total student learning and to encourage different and innovated learning methods in exchange for being freed from some onerous regulations and influence; but charters are not enough.

Today innovation challenges the model of single or limited school choice. One model just doesn’t fit the diversity of student and family issues when there are available many different methods with private, religious, home schooling, virtual schooling – creative greenfield approaches that have the potential to overcome the lack of change over the past 50 years and overcome the ‘tuition barrier’ by opening up more funds for parents in all income levels to pay for the best education for their children.

Over next few months CRI will feature some of these through profiles, You Tube video and print articles.

And, CRI needs your support – make your concerns known to your elected representatives. The focus must be on renewing the total school system and expanding the opportunity for all to share the benefits of a great education system.

 

James E. Hosley

Director, Center for Education Excellence

 

 

Read Full Post »

Delaware is at risk of forever losing its voice in presidential elections.

On June 24th of this year, the Delaware House of Representatives passed House Bill 198 – a bill that essentially reduces Delaware’s minimal voice in national elections to a mere echo of the voice envisioned by our Founding Fathers.

Twenty-three legislators voted to join an interstate compact to subvert Delaware’s influence in the Electoral College, forcing Delaware to cast its vote for whichever presidential candidate might win the overall popular vote, nationwide. Delaware has but three electoral votes among a total of 538, a miniscule one half of one percent of all of the electoral votes. Under this compact, Delaware’s voice is further reduced to a fraction more than one quarter of one percent.

HB 198 is a fundamentally flawed and constitutionally suspect piece of legislation. If our Senate acts to pass HB 198 and this well-intentioned but-conceived measure actually goes into effect with its counterparts in other states, it will serve as the cornerstone for the destruction of the checks and balances our Founders wove into the fabric of the Republic; and ultimately become the loose thread that could unravel the fabric of Republic once and for all.

You may remember the Mel Gibson line from the movie The Patriot where Gibson’s character asks the rhetorical question (and we paraphrase) “Why trade the tyranny of one tyrant 3,000 miles away for that of 3,000 tyrants one mile away?” The Founding Fathers understood the danger of a “tyranny of the majority.” To avoid such “tyrannies,” the Founders  created the Electoral College to balance the interests of the cities against those of the rural areas of America; the interests of the small states against those of the large states, and those of the agrarian South against those of the growing industrial north.

If this compact were to come to fruition, presidential campaigns would rapidly shift from numerous battleground states to a few large population centers. While some voters may now feel disadvantaged by the Electoral College, even more will be disenfranchised by the “national popular vote compact.” In brief, this misguided plan, of which HB 198 is an integral part, calls for entry into a contract with other states wherein Delaware will be forced to cast our electoral votes for someone who may not win a majority within our state. In the end, the rights of Delaware’s voters and millions of others similarly situated in other “compact states” will be greatly diminished.

Let us not forget that in forming the Republic, the power and sovereignty of the federal government was originally derived from a grant of power and authority from each of the individual states. The creation of the Electoral College is as much testimony to that fact as are the Ninth and Tenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.

Reasonable minds can disagree on whether the current system is indeed “broken.” If, in fact, reforms are needed, alternatives can be found to improve the system – without adopting a scheme that infringes upon states’ rights and silences the voice of untold millions of Americans. Indeed, other methods which are more pragmatic and less likely to infringe upon the Founders’ delicate balance of power must surely exist, if only we would search for them.

The checks and balances of big state versus small state; north versus south; east versus west; rural versus urban, are all the results and benefits of the Electoral College. HB 198 and its counterparts in the other states will most certainly result in our country being controlled by America’s 20 or so largest cities to the detriment of the rest of the country. And if this happens, Delaware’s voice will have been effectively silenced and you can bet your bottom dollar that our Republic and the traditional concept of the American dream are doomed.

Originally posted at CaesarRodney.org

Read Full Post »