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President Trump invokes federalism in education

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President Trump invokes federalism in education

As President Trump fulfills a campaign promise to return control of K-12 education to the states, it’s a refreshing reminder that federalism really can be accomplished to some extent even as both parties vie for greater power in DC. His “Education Federalism Executive Order” will launch a 300-day review of Obama-era regulations and guidance for school districts and directs Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to modify or repeal measures she deems an overreach by the federal government.

This is wonderful news. Hopefully, it’s not the last we hear about federalism coming from the administration.

At any given moment, Republicans or Democrats may be embracing some variation of federalism. Once President Trump took office, it became very popular for Democrats to start talking about allowing states to make decisions for themselves with California leading their charge of applying federalism selectively. As for Republicans, federalism seems to be the catch-all last resort; when they have a topic that’s either too toxic or something they failed to address with their standard measures, they turn to federalism for solutions.

We’ve seen examples of each of these springing up over the last couple of years. Should we be applauding their efforts? No. For federalism to work, it must be applied as an overarching philosophy of governance, not as a cherry-picked buzzword to throw out there when it’s politically expedient.

Over the last few days, I’ve had some free time to explore the ways both major parties attempt to apply federalism. That’s the one silver lining to being under the weather – plenty of reading time. As I caught up on as many of the recent pushes for federalism as I could find, there was one unifying quality to the stories. They all used federalism as a means to an end rather than as the end itself.

Americans need federalism now. It’s not fair to say we need it now more than ever because we’ve always needed it. Just because the tenets of federalism are applied less today than in the past doesn’t mean the need is more dire. That’s not how federalism works. You don’t sprinkle a little of it over your salad and call it a day. You embrace it as the standard by which American government from top to bottom is administered.

To do this, we have to apply the Constitution to everything government does. We start at the federal level since DC is the entity that exemplifies our nation’s trajectory towards statism. Piece by piece, we tear down the administrative state by asking two simple questions: does the Constitution allow this and would it be better handled locally?

An example of how the first question is applied would be Obamacare. One must do constitutional gymnastics in order to give a reason why the federal government should be so deeply involved in the health insurance industry. The Affordable Care Act is a hodgepodge of different loopholes and law-bending tactics put together to create the illusion that there’s nothing wrong with the government completely overreaching into a private industry that applies to nearly every American. On these grounds alone, it should be repealed. There are plenty of other grounds for repealing it, the most conspicuous being that is has failed magnificently to make healthcare more affordable, accessible, or improved.

The second question has the perfect example holding many of our children for much of the day Monday through Friday. The education system is broken. The Department of Education is a three-decade-old failed experiment. The only thing keeping the illusion alive that it’s helpful in any way is that DC has taken a huge amount of taxpayer dollars and redirected it to programs intended to improve education. They pay for so much that happens in the public school system that most people involved in it couldn’t imagine what life would be like without the federal government’s handouts. DC has been able to embed itself through taxpayer dollars and has demonstrably botched every effort to make the system better.

If less money was taken by the federal government, more money could go directly from taxpayers to their schools. Today, most taxpayer dollars applied to education don’t even go towards our children’s education. Imagine if those same dollars (or less) were applied at the school, district, city, county, and state levels instead. We’d have more control over the quality of our children’s education. More importantly, there would no longer be the federal standards scapegoat invoked by many school administrators today.

Federalism works because it allows more responsibility to be taken at the local level. When the responsibility is in the hands of our neighbors instead of bureaucrats and lifetime politicians in DC, voters have much more say. Our voices can be heard by our leaders and representatives when we’re meeting them for coffee instead of sending them emails or Tweeting at their social media interns. Moreover, our votes have more pull.

Federalism does NOT work when it’s applied piecemeal. It can certainly help in individual situations on certain issues, such as the plan to put food stamps under the control of states instead of the USDA. There are other times when applying federalism in one-off situations is wrong, such as the argument that sanctuary cities are a form of righteous federalism. I’ll flesh out why that’s not the case in a future article.

If our nation can put the tenets of federalism into action across the board, we can begin the process of taking down the budgets, bureaucracies, and powers that have been in a continuous state of accumulation for decades. Only then can we be certain our freedoms stay intact and every American has an opportunity at prosperity.

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Democrats

‘Pandering Pete’ Buttigieg wants to pay teachers as much as doctors

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Pandering Pete Buttigieg wants to pay teachers as much as doctors

It was one of those debate moments that is taboo to decry. Teachers are treated with the same reverence in Democratic circles as law enforcement officers are treated in Republican circles. Both play major roles in how our country operates. Both deserve a ton of respect.

It’s not politically correct to say this, but I’m not very PC: Neither teachers nor law enforcement officers deserve to paid as much as doctors. It’s not that they’re less important. They’re simply less skilled. It’s hard to become a teacher, but by no means is it in the same league as the challenges that must be met to become a doctor.

Getting into medical school is more difficult. The degrees necessary to become a doctor are harder to acquire. The educational costs are much higher for doctors than teachers. Lastly, fewer people are capable of being good doctors than good teachers.

This is why Pete Buttigieg’s proud proclamation during last night’s Democratic debate is so asinine:

This is a very popular message to commit to during the Democratic primaries. Most teachers are Democrats and the various teachers’ unions offer endorsements that are highly sought by Democratic candidates. The South Bend Mayor is gunning for these endorsements as his campaign seems to have stalled in the last two months.

Teachers average somewhere around $60,000 per year. Doctors range widely depending on their specialty with salaries generally ranging from $80,000 to $250,000 per year. This is fair when considering all the factors in both professions. But Mayor Pete invoked how other counties treat doctors and teachers, noting how in some countries the salaries are more comparable. What he didn’t note is that healthcare in many of these countries is sorely lacking and the education systems often pay teachers more because they’re more difficult to find.

In America, we do not have a teacher shortage. We do, however, have a looming medical crisis when it comes to doctors and other medical professionals due in large part to Obamacare. Whatever healthcare plan is proposed by the eventual nominee, ranging from Joe Biden’s abysmal Obamacare 2.0 to Bernie Sanders’s Medicare-for-All, the result will be an exodus from the medical profession as salaries will invariably drop.

Pete Buttigieg desperately needs a rejuvenation in his floundering campaign. His pandering to teachers is disingenuous, but lying to teachers may be his only hope of making the impact he did at his campaign’s earlier stages.

We are currently forming the American Conservative Movement. If you are interested in learning more, we will be sending out information in a few weeks.

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Education

Ryan Fournier points out reality of AOC’s loan gripe

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Ryan Fournier points out reality of AOC's loan gripe

Poor Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Like many Americans, she has student debt. As a member of the House of Representatives, she also now has the power to do something about it. And if the Democrats get control of the White House and Senate in 2020, her debt-free dreams will come true at the expense of the American taxpayer.

There’s a funny thing about student loans. Nobody is forced to take them. Nobody is forced to go to a prestigious university with high costs. Nobody has to use their degree to become a low-wage bartender in a city with one of the highest costs of living in the world. But based on the cries of the left and the whining of the freshman Congresswoman from the Bronx, she and the rest of Americans with student debt are victims. This mentality is pervasive, especially with Democrats trumpeting their victimhood like a badge of honor.

When people willfully accept financial support in exchange for an education, and that financial support comes in the form of a loan, they are obligated to pay that loan back. It’s a fair trade-off; college students have prospects of higher-paying jobs and therefore should be considered safe investments in the form of loans. The jobs that come available to graduates as a result of these loans mean they should have the means to pay back the loans under the extremely loose terms of their agreement to accept the financial support. The system works. It has worked. It should always work.

But to people like AOC, student debt is unfair.

Students for Trump‘s Ryan Fournier has some thoughts on the ranting Representative:

We couldn’t agree more.

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Education

States adopting more computer science policies see increased gender diversity in computer science classrooms

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States adopting more computer science policies see increased gender diversity in computer science cl

New report provides comprehensive analysis of national progress in expanding access to computer science education

Today, Code.org, the Computer Science Teachers Association, and the Expanding Computing Education Pathways Alliance, released the 2019 State of Computer Science Education report. The report shows conclusively that as states adopt computer science policies not only are more computer science courses taught across those states, there is also an increase in the participation of female students taking Advanced Placement (AP) computer science exams.

Published annually, the report provides the most comprehensive analysis of national progress in computer science education, featuring national and state-level policy and implementation data with a focus on equity and diversity.

The report updates each state’s status toward adopting the nine policies recommended by the Code.org Advocacy Coalition and includes updated school-level data collected for the K-12 Computer Science Access Report on the availability of computer science in high schools.

“Just six years ago, not a single state considered K-12 computer science education a priority. Today, states are competing to see who can offer the best computer science education for their students. Policymakers, district leaders, and educators inherently understand that expanding access to this field unlocks opportunity for their students’ futures,” said Cameron Wilson, president of the Code.org Advocacy Coalition.

Key findings from the 2019 State of Computer Science Education report include:

  • States that have adopted more of the nine policies have a greater percentage of high schools teaching computer science, and also have an increase in the representation of female students taking AP computer science exams.
    • States that have adopted five to nine of the nine policies show a 56% implementation rate on average, while states that have adopted one to four of the policies show a 39% implementation rate on average.
    • States that have adopted all nine policies have a 65% implementation rate on average compared to 34% for states that have only adopted one of the policies.
  • Since the 2018 State of Computer Science Education report was published, 33 states passed 57 new laws and regulations promoting computer science.
    • When the Code.org Advocacy Coalition began its work in 2013, just 14 states plus D.C. had at least one of these nine policies in place; last year there were 44 states. Today, all 50 states have now adopted—or are in the process of adopting—one or more of the nine policies.
  • Across 39 states, only 45% of high schools teach computer science. Students receiving free and reduced lunch and students from rural areas are less likely to attend a school that provides opportunities to learn this critical subject.
    • Since the K-12 Computer Science Access Report was launched in 2017, the initiative has collected data on 55% of all public K–12 schools and 83% of all public high schools.

“Every young person, no matter where they live, deserves the opportunity to learn 21st century skills,” said Brad Smith, President of Microsoft. “While it is encouraging that the gender gap is narrowing, we need to ensure that more women and people of all backgrounds have greater access to computer science education. It is critical for state leaders to build on this progress to ensure every student is prepared for the digital economy.”

“We’re enormously proud to be part of this movement,” said Stefanie Sanford, Chief of Global Policy & External Relations at the College Board. “Changing the invitation to computer science has allowed us to welcome far more talent into the classroom, preparing more students to shape the future.”

“This report illustrates the positive effects of recent policies on increased access for CS education,” said CSTA Executive Director Jake Baskin. “As momentum continues to build nationwide, these examples will help guide states’ work in providing all students with a high-quality computer science education.”

“Maintaining a focus on broadening participation in computing in CS advocacy and policy efforts requires access to new data, both locally and nationally,” said ECEP Alliance Director Sarah Dunton. “This national report allows us to disseminate information that immediately sparks conversations, builds connections, and increases action at the state level.”

Editor’s Note: This non-partisan group may initially seem to go against our tenets of localized education and removing DC control over our schools. But these non-profits actually represent the type of private-funded advocacy that can and should replace the Department of Education’s authoritarian style. These groups use research and analysis to promote their recommendations rather than forcing compliance from DC. This is what conservative educational practices need from the private sector: More common sense advancement for the sake of our children and this nation’s future.

We are currently forming the American Conservative Movement. If you are interested in learning more, we will be sending out information in a few weeks.

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