Posts Tagged ‘education’
The Arizona Republic published a piece I wrote about the Arizona Governor’s race. Here it is in it’s entirety:
Doug Ducey is a blueprint for the GOP
Sean Noble, AZ I See It
Sean Noble: Doug Ducey stood FOR something, and voters responded to his agenda.
Plenty of those taking office in January got there simply by not being a Democrat in a Republican year. If the GOP is to prevail in 2016, they’ll need more.
Doug Ducey’s successful gubernatorial campaign in Arizona provides the blueprint for Republicans going forward.
When conservatives pine for “the next Ronald Reagan,” they are really talking about leadership. They want someone who articulates a vision, who can build a broad, diverse coalition, and who fights for conservative principles rather than conservative politics.
Arizona has found such a leader in former Cold Stone Creamery CEO Doug Ducey, an energetic, optimistic businessman who was fond of saying, “I built a business, now I want to shrink a government and grow an economy.” Ducey is a man of action; he’ll do what he says he’ll do.
And what is that? He’ll make changes to education funding so that more dollars make it to the classroom, rather than bloated administrations.
He’ll reduce the waiting lists for high-performing schools so that low-income kids can have access to the best education possible.
He’ll end the practice of government picking winners and losers and lower individual and corporate income taxes so that Arizona attracts new business.
And he’ll provide leadership that all Arizonans — and conservatives — can be proud of.
Doug Ducey stood for something; voters cast their ballots in support of his agenda rather than against the Democratic agenda. Ducey ran an effective campaign by building a broad coalition, staying on message and clearly articulating a platform of opportunity, which resonated with Arizonans.
American Encore commissioned Kellyanne Conway of the Polling Company, Inc. and Women Trend to conduct a post-election poll. Conway’s findings show Ducey won big on substance.
Education was a clear priority for voters (35 percent), with the economy next (32 percent) followed by border security (13 percent) and health care/”Obamacare” (12 percent).
When it came to education, 65 percent of women and 62 percent of men said it was important to their vote that Ducey supported scholarship programs to give low-income children access to high-performing schools.
By making it clear that education mattered to him and delivering a strong message of support for school choice, Ducey neutralized Fred DuVal’s negative messaging that Ducey didn’t care about education. This among other factors led to a remarkable result: Ducey beat DuVal among women.
The Democratic “war on women” playbook just fell flat with voters. When asked about the most important issues in casting their vote for governor, 1 percent cited women’s issues and another 1 percent cited abortion.
In fact, Fred DuVal is the first Democratic candidate to fumble the abortion issue. He took the extreme position that parents should not have to consent in order for their 14 year-old daughter to get an abortion. Fifty-nine percent of voters cited that position as important to their vote.
Other typical liberal rhetoric like class warfare and climate change failed to move Arizona voters. Only 1 percent of voters cited income inequality as important, and less than 1 percent cited climate change.
Oh, and for all the media squawking about “dark money”? Exactly one respondent out of 500 thought it important.
Doug Ducey attracted a broad range of support. In addition to winning among women, he won 24 percent of the Hispanic vote and only slightly trailed DuVal among young voters, while enjoying a 25-point advantage with 45- to 54-year-olds and leading big among those 55 and older.
Of course, the national environment had some impact on the race: Only 37 percent of voters had a favorable opinion of President Barack Obama, and 57 percent had an unfavorable opinion.
But the environment doesn’t explain the 12-point margin of victory for Ducey. On Election Day, Ducey enjoyed a 50 vs. 31 percent favorable/unfavorable rating, compared with DuVal at 38 vs. 35 percent favorable/unfavorable rating. That had a huge impact on late deciding voters — of which there were more than usual. A whopping 23 percent made up their mind in the last two weeks of the election.
The late Steve Shadegg, one of the premiere election experts in modern history, said that, ultimately, elections come down to whom you can trust. If you explain your positions eloquently and honestly, as Doug Ducey did, people will trust you — even if they don’t agree with you on every issue. Ducey provided Republicans with the perfect campaign blueprint; next, he’ll show them how to govern.
Sean Noble is the president of American Encore.
One of Obama’s big ideas in his State of the Union speech was to expand free pre-school programs.
And that has to start at the earliest possible age. Study after study shows that the sooner a child begins learning, the better he or she does down the road. But today, fewer than 3 in 10 four year-olds are enrolled in a high-quality preschool program. Most middle-class parents can’t afford a few hundred bucks a week for a private preschool. And for poor kids who need help the most, this lack of access to preschool education can shadow them for the rest of their lives. So tonight, I propose working with states to make high-quality preschool available to every single child in America. (Applause.) That’s something we should be able to do.
I have a little experience with early childhood education… having five kids will give you some experience, and I am sure that the federal government or state government knows less about what my kids need then I do. This is yet another step in the “cradle-to-grave” mentality of the Left to inject their “progressive” thinking into children at as young an age as possible.
Have doubts? Do you think for one second Obama would allow choice in pre-school by providing payments to parents who decide to do “home pre-school?” No, if it isn’t government sanctioned, it isn’t good enough “for the children.”
But what undercuts Obama’s kid-grab is a study by his own Department of Health and Human Resources that points out that there is no lasting benefit of Head Start for children after they enter elementary school.
As the Editors of National Review wrote:
The results of the HHS study will be of no surprise to anybody who has followed the research on Head Start and similar programs. The “impacts” documented in the study were transitory, vanishing entirely by the early stages of elementary-school education. And some of the impacts were negative; for instance, members of the three-year-old cohort who participated in Head Start were less likely than those in the control group to achieve regular grade promotion. That probably is not evidence that Head Start hurt the three-year-olds; it is more probable that, by random chance, students more likely to be held back were assigned to the Head Start group, and the benefits of Head Start were not consistent enough or large enough to overcome the difference. (The result was considered “statistically significant,” but that merely means it is unlikely — not impossible — for it to be the result of chance.) But the inability of Head Start to overcome the effects of randomness is damning enough in itself.
There is nothing more dangerous than government getting their hands on our kids at an early age. I actually think that kids should wait longer to enter formal education.
A few years ago, I wrote about all-day Kindergarten and how it actually caused the regression of my son’s reading skills. I have experienced first-hand the damage that government-run early education can do to a child.
A few months later it is Christmas break and I ask Adam to sit down and read to me. To my utter horror, I realized that his reading had regressed. A lot.
At that point, I’d had it. This wonderful all-day K was actually hurting my child.
So Obama should keep his hands of my kids.
All-day kindergarten is one of those issues that I just won’t ignore. In some ways it’s become a personal crusade of mine, because I had such a personal experience with it when my oldest son was in kindergarten and the experience I had in trying to actually exercise a choice as a parent to NOT have him in an all-day program.
I oppose “free” all-day kindergarten, because there isn’t any actual educational benefit to kids that last beyond the 3rd grade. In fact, in my son’s case, his reading skills actually regressed as a result of not being at home with my wife working on reading one-on-one. The link above tells the more complete story.
So I was annoyed when I read this story about how school districts are grappling with what to cut in order to save all-day K. It really isn’t much more than a few hours of free day-care for parents. I know first-hand. I tried to get parents to sign a petition asking for a half-day option a few years ago and I couldn’t get one parent to sign it. The most common reason? “Oh this is great, I’ll have more free time.”
The bottom line is that I don’t want my tax dollars going to subsidize the free time of other parents. And don’t try to argue that is critical for working parents. Sure it helps them, but my wife and I figured it out when our oldest daughter had half day, so it’s not like it’s a new concept or something.
So this is a bit of rant, but like I said, it’s personal.
The President of the United States will address school children on Tuesday on the importance of taking responsibility for their own education, their own future and their own destiny. If that’s indoctrination, give me more.
I have been a bit surprised by the reaction of some folks regarding Obama’s speech to kids. Some have expressed some reservation about it, others have said they were contacting their children’s school about it, but the quote below from a Financial Times story was downright jaw-dropping over the top:
“As far as I am concerned, this is not civics education – it gives the appearance of creating a cult of personality,” said Steve Russell, a Republican senator from Oklahoma. “This is something you’d expect to see in North Korea or in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.”
“Cult of personality”? Would this Republican say the same thing if it were Ronald Reagan or George W. Bush speaking the exact same words? Not a chance. This is hypocrisy on parade.
And if you have any doubt, the full text of the speech is posted below. Read it for yourself, and then decide whether you would want your child to hear that message. I know that I want my kids to hear it, and they will.
Prepared Remarks of President Barack Obama
Back to School Event
September 8, 2009
The President: Hello everyone – how’s everybody doing today? I’m here with students at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia. And we’ve got students tuning in from all across America, kindergarten through twelfth grade. I’m glad you all could join us today.
I know that for many of you, today is the first day of school. And for those of you in kindergarten, or starting middle or high school, it’s your first day in a new school, so it’s understandable if you’re a little nervous. I imagine there are some seniors out there who are feeling pretty good right now, with just one more year to go. And no matter what grade you’re in, some of you are probably wishing it were still summer, and you could’ve stayed in bed just a little longer this morning.
I know that feeling. When I was young, my family lived in Indonesia for a few years, and my mother didn’t have the money to send me where all the American kids went to school. So she decided to teach me extra lessons herself, Monday through Friday – at 4:30 in the morning.
Now I wasn’t too happy about getting up that early. A lot of times, I’d fall asleep right there at the kitchen table. But whenever I’d complain, my mother would just give me one of those looks and say, “This is no picnic for me either, buster.”
So I know some of you are still adjusting to being back at school. But I’m here today because I have something important to discuss with you. I’m here because I want to talk with you about your education and what’s expected of all of you in this new school year.
Now I’ve given a lot of speeches about education. And I’ve talked a lot about responsibility.
I’ve talked about your teachers’ responsibility for inspiring you, and pushing you to learn.
I’ve talked about your parents’ responsibility for making sure you stay on track, and get your homework done, and don’t spend every waking hour in front of the TV or with that Xbox.
I’ve talked a lot about your government’s responsibility for setting high standards, supporting teachers and principals, and turning around schools that aren’t working where students aren’t getting the opportunities they deserve.
But at the end of the day, we can have the most dedicated teachers, the most supportive parents, and the best schools in the world – and none of it will matter unless all of you fulfill your responsibilities. Unless you show up to those schools; pay attention to those teachers; listen to your parents, grandparents and other adults; and put in the hard work it takes to succeed.
And that’s what I want to focus on today: the responsibility each of you has for your education. I want to start with the responsibility you have to yourself.
Every single one of you has something you’re good at. Every single one of you has something to offer. And you have a responsibility to yourself to discover what that is. That’s the opportunity an education can provide.
Maybe you could be a good writer – maybe even good enough to write a book or articles in a newspaper – but you might not know it until you write a paper for your English class. Maybe you could be an innovator or an inventor – maybe even good enough to come up with the next iPhone or a new medicine or vaccine – but you might not know it until you do a project for your science class. Maybe you could be a mayor or a Senator or a Supreme Court Justice, but you might not know that until you join student government or the debate team.
And no matter what you want to do with your life – I guarantee that you’ll need an education to do it. You want to be a doctor, or a teacher, or a police officer? You want to be a nurse or an architect, a lawyer or a member of our military? You’re going to need a good education for every single one of those careers. You can’t drop out of school and just drop into a good job. You’ve got to work for it and train for it and learn for it.
And this isn’t just important for your own life and your own future. What you make of your education will decide nothing less than the future of this country. What you’re learning in school today will determine whether we as a nation can meet our greatest challenges in the future.
You’ll need the knowledge and problem-solving skills you learn in science and math to cure diseases like cancer and AIDS, and to develop new energy technologies and protect our environment. You’ll need the insights and critical thinking skills you gain in history and social studies to fight poverty and homelessness, crime and discrimination, and make our nation more fair and more free. You’ll need the creativity and ingenuity you develop in all your classes to build new companies that will create new jobs and boost our economy.
We need every single one of you to develop your talents, skills and intellect so you can help solve our most difficult problems. If you don’t do that – if you quit on school – you’re not just quitting on yourself, you’re quitting on your country.
Now I know it’s not always easy to do well in school. I know a lot of you have challenges in your lives right now that can make it hard to focus on your schoolwork.
I get it. I know what that’s like. My father left my family when I was two years old, and I was raised by a single mother who struggled at times to pay the bills and wasn’t always able to give us things the other kids had. There were times when I missed having a father in my life. There were times when I was lonely and felt like I didn’t fit in.
So I wasn’t always as focused as I should have been. I did some things I’m not proud of, and got in more trouble than I should have. And my life could have easily taken a turn for the worse.
But I was fortunate. I got a lot of second chances and had the opportunity to go to college, and law school, and follow my dreams. My wife, our First Lady Michelle Obama, has a similar story. Neither of her parents had gone to college, and they didn’t have much. But they worked hard, and she worked hard, so that she could go to the best schools in this country.
Some of you might not have those advantages. Maybe you don’t have adults in your life who give you the support that you need. Maybe someone in your family has lost their job, and there’s not enough money to go around. Maybe you live in a neighborhood where you don’t feel safe, or have friends who are pressuring you to do things you know aren’t right.
But at the end of the day, the circumstances of your life – what you look like, where you come from, how much money you have, what you’ve got going on at home – that’s no excuse for neglecting your homework or having a bad attitude. That’s no excuse for talking back to your teacher, or cutting class, or dropping out of school. That’s no excuse for not trying.
Where you are right now doesn’t have to determine where you’ll end up. No one’s written your destiny for you. Here in America, you write your own destiny. You make your own future.
That’s what young people like you are doing every day, all across America.
Young people like Jazmin Perez, from Roma, Texas. Jazmin didn’t speak English when she first started school. Hardly anyone in her hometown went to college, and neither of her parents had gone either. But she worked hard, earned good grades, got a scholarship to Brown University, and is now in graduate school, studying public health, on her way to being Dr. Jazmin Perez.
I’m thinking about Andoni Schultz, from Los Altos, California, who’s fought brain cancer since he was three. He’s endured all sorts of treatments and surgeries, one of which affected his memory, so it took him much longer – hundreds of extra hours – to do his schoolwork. But he never fell behind, and he’s headed to college this fall.
And then there’s Shantell Steve, from my hometown of Chicago, Illinois. Even when bouncing from foster home to foster home in the toughest neighborhoods, she managed to get a job at a local health center; start a program to keep young people out of gangs; and she’s on track to graduate high school with honors and go on to college.
Jazmin, Andoni and Shantell aren’t any different from any of you. They faced challenges in their lives just like you do. But they refused to give up. They chose to take responsibility for their education and set goals for themselves. And I expect all of you to do the same.
That’s why today, I’m calling on each of you to set your own goals for your education – and to do everything you can to meet them. Your goal can be something as simple as doing all your homework, paying attention in class, or spending time each day reading a book. Maybe you’ll decide to get involved in an extracurricular activity, or volunteer in your community. Maybe you’ll decide to stand up for kids who are being teased or bullied because of who they are or how they look, because you believe, like I do, that all kids deserve a safe environment to study and learn. Maybe you’ll decide to take better care of yourself so you can be more ready to learn. And along those lines, I hope you’ll all wash your hands a lot, and stay home from school when you don’t feel well, so we can keep people from getting the flu this fall and winter.
Whatever you resolve to do, I want you to commit to it. I want you to really work at it.
I know that sometimes, you get the sense from TV that you can be rich and successful without any hard work — that your ticket to success is through rapping or basketball or being a reality TV star, when chances are, you’re not going to be any of those things.
But the truth is, being successful is hard. You won’t love every subject you study. You won’t click with every teacher. Not every homework assignment will seem completely relevant to your life right this minute. And you won’t necessarily succeed at everything the first time you try.
That’s OK. Some of the most successful people in the world are the ones who’ve had the most failures. JK Rowling’s first Harry Potter book was rejected twelve times before it was finally published. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team, and he lost hundreds of games and missed thousands of shots during his career. But he once said, “I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
These people succeeded because they understand that you can’t let your failures define you – you have to let them teach you. You have to let them show you what to do differently next time. If you get in trouble, that doesn’t mean you’re a troublemaker, it means you need to try harder to behave. If you get a bad grade, that doesn’t mean you’re stupid, it just means you need to spend more time studying.
No one’s born being good at things, you become good at things through hard work. You’re not a varsity athlete the first time you play a new sport. You don’t hit every note the first time you sing a song. You’ve got to practice. It’s the same with your schoolwork. You might have to do a math problem a few times before you get it right, or read something a few times before you understand it, or do a few drafts of a paper before it’s good enough to hand in.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. I do that every day. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength. It shows you have the courage to admit when you don’t know something, and to learn something new. So find an adult you trust – a parent, grandparent or teacher; a coach or counselor – and ask them to help you stay on track to meet your goals.
And even when you’re struggling, even when you’re discouraged, and you feel like other people have given up on you – don’t ever give up on yourself. Because when you give up on yourself, you give up on your country.
The story of America isn’t about people who quit when things got tough. It’s about people who kept going, who tried harder, who loved their country too much to do anything less than their best.
It’s the story of students who sat where you sit 250 years ago, and went on to wage a revolution and found this nation. Students who sat where you sit 75 years ago who overcame a Depression and won a world war; who fought for civil rights and put a man on the moon. Students who sat where you sit 20 years ago who founded Google, Twitter and Facebook and changed the way we communicate with each other.
So today, I want to ask you, what’s your contribution going to be? What problems are you going to solve? What discoveries will you make? What will a president who comes here in twenty or fifty or one hundred years say about what all of you did for this country?
Your families, your teachers, and I are doing everything we can to make sure you have the education you need to answer these questions. I’m working hard to fix up your classrooms and get you the books, equipment and computers you need to learn. But you’ve got to do your part too. So I expect you to get serious this year. I expect you to put your best effort into everything you do. I expect great things from each of you. So don’t let us down – don’t let your family or your country or yourself down. Make us all proud. I know you can do it.
Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America.