Sunday, August 8, 2010

Bob Herbert: America Putting our Brains on Hold?

New York Times columnist, Bob Herbert writes this week about America's dismal lack of education and our fascination with waywards like Lindsay Lohan. He laments our lack of industrial might, the fewer students applying for college, decries our joblessness, the economy - and the overall leadership of the world that we have let slip through our fingers. Herbert says America has put our brains on hold, and "everyone" is to blame for this miserable state of our nation. That begs a response, don't you think? Don't miss the video below.

Bob Herbert

What would a conservative have to say to Bob Herbert when he asks "where is the serious and widespread engagement" on these issues? We would tell him he isn't paying attention to the Right sources. If he took a peek to the Right he would see that we are hemorrhaging information and angst.

Among Herbert's concerns are: teachers are not teaching a curricula that is "interesting and inspiring." Grade school sex-ed must not be self-fulfilling for our youngsters. Cleanse the schools of Marxist/Communist teachers and teach real history - the Founding Fathers, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights - all stimulating and inspiring unless you are that Marxist/Communist teacher.

The struggle to strengthen the economy. Democrats wrecked it. They cheated responsible homeowners and rewarded irresponsible buyers. The plethora of easy money created swells of buyers, and the demand sent home prices soaring. When the adjustable rates kicked in, the irresponsible simply walked away. After all they had no home equity because they received a zero-down government loan. Banks sold the abandoned properties for far less than their customers paid for them, and the responsible homeowners in the neighborhood saw their home values plummet as well. It WAS the Democrats who deserve the blame. Blame Barney Franks, Maxine Waters and Chris Dodd.  Here are the facts.

We have to mention the reprehensible spending habits of Republicans during the Bush years, right? Bush took office in January 2001 and served until January 2009. Barack Obama came to the U.S. Senate in January 2005 and served until mid-November 2008. Despite his whiny claims that the deficit belongs to G.W., the truth is, long before Obama descended to the White House he voted for each and every Bush budget. This from Rush Limbaugh:
He [Obama]  never opposed anything about what Bush was doing.  He was always of the mind it wasn't enough.  Now, if the Democrats "inherited" any deficit, it was the fiscal year 2007 deficit, the last of the Republican budgets. That deficit in fiscal year 2007 was the lowest deficit in five years, the fourth straight decline in deficit spending.  After that, the Democrats in Congress took control of spending. They took control in 2007, and that includes Obama who voted for all of the budgets that Bush put forth.  He voted for every budget that busted whatever. 
He cannot say he opposed it.  He cannot say he differed from it.  He cannot say he warned everybody.  He was right in there! He voted for every one of those budgets, so if he "inherited" anything, he inherited from himself because he was right there.  His only complaint during the Bush administration was that they weren't spending enough. 
 In fact, Bush expanded the budget by $700 billion through 2008. Obama didn't fool with the small stuff. He added another $1 trillion. Here's a little tid-bit that you should know: "...Obama's budget" according to The Heritage Foundation, would add twice as much debt as G.W. Bush. 

About the loss of our "industrial might:" Blame the unions. There is no need to lay out the facts here. We all know them much too well. The terrible truth has been revealed. Union contracts give companies good reason to go overseas and be "industrial" at a much lower cost, which in turn may lead to higher stockholder benefits back in the states. Americans don't build factories overseas for the fun of it - it 's a business decision. Get the unions in line with wages and benefits and remove the heavy green regulations on energy and we become "industrial" again.

About fewer students applying for a college education: White and middle class students are often turned down at the college of their choice. Excellent grades aren't enough to gain admittance. Parents willing to pay for their child's degree - to pay retail for it - doesn't do a thing to enhance their White child's chances. Why? Because affirmative action is still alive and well at University. If your child wants to go to a state school outside of your home state, very few slots are available for Caucasians. Should your White child aspire to an Ivy League school - good luck. The stats are literally stacked against him/her. In general, those spots are only open to Hispanics and Blacks entering with scholarships and grants. Their SAT's are handicapped and they jump to the front of the line. Whites and Asians with impressive grades are often not considered at all.
"Being Hispanic conferred an admissions boost over being white ... equivalent to 130 SAT points (out of 1,600), while being black rather than white conferred a 310-point SAT advantage. Asians, however, suffered an admissions penalty compared to whites equivalent to 140 SAT points."
"To have the same chance of gaining admission as a black student with a SAT score of 1100, a Hispanic student otherwise equally matched in background characteristics would have to have 1230, a white student a 1410, and an Asian student a 1550."
When you tell your child all his/her life, that if he works hard, and gets good grades, he can go to almost any school he wants - then you find you have lied to him for years, it is beyond discouraging.

But long before university, school vouchers could change elementary education for the better. Republicans want vouchers. Democrats hate them. but vouchers are the bane of Democrats. Legislation often doesn't make it out of committee - even knowing public schools are a recipe for failure. It is all about the money. The government gives public schools a stipend for each student in a classroom. Democrats must live with choosing the money and unions over the children. 

Remember that one of the first things Obama did after taking office was to cut-off low-income blacks from scholarships to his daughter's school, the Sidwell Friends. Republicans fought for vouchers. Obama said he was open to them, he lied. Democrats had all the power but sided with the unions over the children. I dare you to watch the video below and tell me how exactly Democrats want better education.

Herbert said:
 According to a new report from the College Board, the U.S. is 12th among developed nations in the percentage of 25- to 34-year-olds with college degrees. The report said, “As America’s aging and highly educated work force moves into retirement, the nation will rely on young Americans to increase our standing in the world.”
The problem is that today’s young Americans are not coming close to acquiring the education and training needed to carry out that mission. They’re not even in the ballpark. In that key group, 25- to 34-year-olds with a college degree, the U.S. ranks behind Canada, South Korea, Russia, Japan, New Zealand, Ireland, Norway, Israel, France, Belgium and Australia. That is beyond pathetic.  
I agree - it is beyond pathetic, so maybe Bob Herbert will use his bi-weekly column to shame Democrats and their head-butting quest to put union interests ahead of education.

Herbert ends his article saying that after many years, and much accomplishment we led education worldwide, but we "foolishly applied the brakes." I agree. We wore out the brakes as we jammed them to the floor, desperately trying to stop the world and grab onto political correctness. In doing so, we dumbed down our schools, added worthless classes - even letting some students opt out of math and science because it was "hard." Now our brake pads are disintegrating and on fire, and there's no one in the "ruling" Democrat party committed to repairing them. Not everyone put their brains on hold, Mr. Herbert. I suggest those who did, get out of the way and let us handle it. Another suggestion from my hubby: "Bob, read Thomas Sowell, Walter Williams or Herman Cain please.

Glen Beck and a Washington D.C. Family on School Vouchers (video)

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