Blog No. 35. The Strange Case of Cliven Bundy and the Mojave Desert Tortoise.

Readers who have been focusing on weightier matters, perhaps the maneuvering of Vladimir Putin in Ukraine, may not have followed closely the saga of Cliven Bundy. But in the issues involved, and the responses it has produced from left and right, Mr. Bundy’s story promises to become something of a fable for our times. Blog 35 Ranchers […]

Blog No. 30. A Good Day at the White House: “My Brother’s Keeper” and Food Labeling.

The Obama Administration has not had many good days in quite a while, and with the arrival of the crisis in Ukraine, it may not have many for some time. Yet last Thursday, February 27, just before Vladimir Putin invaded Crimea, it was a day at the White House that deserves to be remembered with favorable nods to both the President and First Lady.

For his part, President Obama spoke eloquently of the circumstances of black and Hispanic young men and announced a new initiative, “My Brother’s Keeper,” to address those circumstances. Later that day, Michelle Obama appeared with the Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, and the Secretary of Health and Human Services, to announce proposed new rules for food labeling, a project that she had been working on for several years. Each announcement, we believe, was one that Republicans can applaud (or at least quietly approve). […]

Blog No. 29. The Politics of K-12: Common Core, Charter Schools, Vouchers and Teachers’ Tenure.

BLOG 29 0e1841151_reinventing-americas-schools One of the earliest offerings of was “Blog No 3. Common Core State Standards: A New Cause for the Tea Party.” Since then, controversy over the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) has grown rather than diminished, and has become more complex. While the CCSS are the centerpiece of political debate, there are also disputes at federal, state and local levels over charter schools, vouchers and teacher tenure.

These are important issues that deserve the attention of RINOs and other Republicans. As we struggle with the challenges of income inequality and economic mobility, very few dispute that improving education is an essential ingredient of any successful approach to meeting those challenges. Moreover, it is increasingly apparent that first-rate education is vital to the ability of the United States to compete globally. But improvements are not easy to come-by. Different constituencies have differing perspectives, and attempts at reform that challenge the status quo inevitably generate resistance. Education reform is no exception. […]

Blog No. 27. Pre-K Education: Great Debate or Great Puzzle?

Letter puzzle - BLog 27 believes strongly that early education is important, and that it is imperative in the case of children of lower socioeconomic status. Indeed, It appears that Head Start might have been more aptly named “Catching Up.”  An October 22 article in the New York Times reported a recent study showing that the educational handicaps of such children can be observed from almost the very start:

New research by Anne Fernald, a psychologist at Stanford University, which was published in Developmental Science this year, showed that at 18 months children from wealthier homes could identify pictures of simple words they knew — “dog” or “ball” — much faster than children from low-income families. By age 2, the study found, affluent children had learned 30 percent more words in the intervening months than the children from low-income homes.

If the Republican Party is to live up to its aspiration of being “the party of opportunity,” as the 2012 Platform proclaimed, it has no more important task than bringing opportunity to those children.  But, how to do that is not so clear. […]

Blog No. 6 The Supreme Court, Republicans and Race. PART II, The Voting Rights Act and the Challenge Before Congress

The acquittal of George Zimmerman occurred at a point when issues of race were already very much alive in the public consciousness. The Fisher case, discussed in Part I, had sparked differing appraisals from liberals and conservatives concerning the issue of considering race in college admissions. Following on the heels of Fisher, the responses provoked by Shelby County v. Holder with respect to the Voting Rights Act reflected even sharper conflicts. Liberals expressed dismay and outrage at the decision, while conservatives tended to celebrate it, sometimes almost exuberantly. Thoughtful RINOs (and friends of RINOs) may find both sets of reactions to be overstated, but will want to consider what comes next. […]

Blog No. 3 Common Core State Standards: A New Cause for the Tea Party

Our friends in the Tea Party have a new cause. A May 30 article in The Washington Post expanded on earlier press reports that Tea Party groups have mounted a nationwide campaign against the Common Core Standards. Some readers of the blog will doubtless respond “Hunh?” But if you are aware of the Standards only vaguely, or not at all, and are not familiar with the growing controversy surrounding them, now’s the time to catch up. […]