News

Here’s a rundown of the presidential candidates on education

Hillary_Clinton_official_Secretary_of_State_portrait_cropThe Congressional primaries may be a mess in North Carolina, but voting for your presidential preference and other statewide races is still on for March 15.

Just in time, Education Week has offered a pretty handy primer on the presidential candidates’ education policies. In lieu of policies—since Donald Trump doesn’t really issue those—the primer gives us some statements the candidates have made.

Among the Democrats, Hillary Clinton may have the somewhat controversial backing of the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers, but Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has generated his own K-12 buzz.

From the Ed Week report on Sanders:

He doesn’t have the long-standing relationship with minority voters that his chief rival, Hillary Clinton, is said to have. But he’s trying to take on issues that are important to those communities. For instance, on his campaign website, he addresses opportunity gaps in K-12 education, noting that black students are far more likely to be suspended or taught by a first-year teacher than their white peers are. And he’s pitched moving away from property taxes to a more equal system of funding education. Plus, Sanders has talked about the power of education to combat crime. “It makes eminently more sense to invest in jobs and education than jails and incarceration,” he said at a campaign rally in Springfield, Mass., last year. He’s also said that government jobs could help dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline.

Meanwhile, among the GOP, the report points out multiple candidates, notably Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, have been adamant about major funding cuts or completely sacking the U.S. Department of Education altogether, shuttling standards and practices to the states.

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Commentary

“Nonpartisan” Pope-Civitas Institute hosts select candidates at conference in the midst of primary election

N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory

Gov. Pat McCrory

Dan Forest

Lt. Gov. Dan Forest

Ted and Heidi Cruz - Image: Twitter.com

Ted and Heidi Cruz – Image: Twitter.com

There’s a lot of wackiness coming to Raleigh this weekend at the Pope-Civitas Institute’s Conservative Leadership Conference. You can check out the whole motley crew of presenters and “can’t miss” sessions by clicking here. Among the obvious “highlights”:

  • Christian Action League boss Mark Harris holding forth on threats to “religious freedom,”
  • Convicted campaign finance law felon Dinesh D’Souza pushing two of his recent books and
  • A session entitled “Dark Money v. Private Philanthropy: How to Keep Your Donations Private and the Left Out of Your Business.”

And, of course, who would want to miss the Saturday night “Liberty on the Lawn Cigar Reception”?

But the sessions that really stand out in the midst of a hotly contested state primary election (early voting starts tomorrow) will be the ones featuring the appearance of two candidates and one surrogate for a candidate — all of whom appear on the primary ballot.

First will come Gov. Pat McCrory at the Friday morning opening breakfast (as an aside, does anyone else think it’s weird that the Governor of the state has to share the podium with three other speakers including the notorious vote suppressor, Hans von Spakovsky?). Then comes a Friday after-lunch session featuring Lt. Gov. Dan Forest. And then on Saturday, the lunch will feature Heidi Cruz — the wife of the presidential candidate Ted Cruz, who has been feverishly crisscrossing the nation as a surrogate for her husband’s campaign.

Notably absent from the schedule: the opponents or spokespersons for the opponents of these candidates.

All of which raises the question of how in the heck a nonpartisan nonprofit pulls this off. At last check, the Pope-Civitas was a 501(c)(3) private foundation that is barred from endorsing candidates for office. One presumes the speakers have been instructed not to make appeals for votes, but given the proximity to the election and the notable absence of opponents, it’s hard to see how the appearances — especially Cruz’s — don’t amount to at least tacit endorsements.

Uncategorized

NRA to announce new proposal to combat school shootings?

Gun violenceSchool “lockdowns” in response to gun violence: It’s become almost a daily occurrence in the U.S. Indeed, school gun violence incidents have gotten so absurdly commonplace that many of us don’t even blink an eye as the latest red-letter alert crawls across our computer or TV screens. As I write this, two more such lockdowns are underway — at Yale University in Connecticut and here in North Carolina at Vance-Granville Community College.  Talk about evidence that this madness is an equal opportunity plague.

It’s gotten so bad that it probably won’t be long before we see a news story like the following:

NRA calls for universal lockdown to combat school shootings

In response to the 750th American school shooting in the last six months, the National Rifle Association announced today that it is calling for an immediate, national and permanent lockdown of all schools, businesses and places of worship in the country. Under the NRA proposal, only individuals carrying firearms will be allowed to enter or exit any of the specified facilities. The proposal would make an exception for children under 12 entering and exiting under the protection of an armed parent or guardian.

“We’re just plain tired of people saying the NRA doesn’t care Read more

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The far right’s anarchy strategy

Ted Cruz 2As we noted a few weeks back, the modern American hard right has, under the leadership of Ted Cruz and his ilk, really morphed into a kind of 21st Century anarchist movement. The goal: do whatever it takes to impose the Koch Brothers/Heritage Foundation/NRA vision of a dog-eat-dog, everyone-for-themselves society — even if it means wrecking the economy and wreaking havoc with essential public structures and services.

This is why stories like this one — in which the Associated Press spells out in painful detail the terrible damage inflicted on the country over the last couple of weeks by the Tea Party hostage crisis — are actually seen by many on the far right as a sign that they are winning. Read more

Uncategorized

Heck of a job, Cruzzie!

Ted CruzSo, what did all the crazy hostage-taking politics of the last few weeks produce? According to Standard and Poors, the answer is: $24 billion in lost economic activity. For those of you keeping score, that’s a sum greater than the entire annual North Carolina General Fund budget.   

But, at least, the freak show wasn’t a total loss. The new leader of American conservatism, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, bragged in a media interview that he had added two million names to the fundraising list for a right-wing PAC. 

(Photo source: http://thinkprogress.org/.