Monday, March 19, 2012

Governor Jindal’s School Voucher and Tenure Reform Bills Pass Louisiana House Education Committee

Voucher and Tenure Reform Bills Pass House Committee by Wide Margins, Head to Senate Committee

In two landslide votes, the Louisiana House Education Committee passed a voucher reform bill, HB.976, and a teacher tenure reform bill, HB.974, by margins of 12-6 and 13-5, respectively. The bills are part of a larger education reform package proposed by Governor Bobby Jindal, which includes vouchers for students in under-performing public schools, performance-based tenure, and tax credits for individuals and businesses to sponsor tuition for the schools that best meet a child’s educational needs.

“This is great progress for the hundreds of activists engaged in the campaign for school choice in Louisiana,” commented David Spielman, Campaigns Coordinator for FreedomWorks. “We have been working tirelessly to educate taxpayers on the merits of competition in the educational marketplace, especially in a state that currently ranks 49th in the nation. We will be at the Capitol today to urge the Senate Education Committee to pass their versions of the voucher and teacher tenure reform bills today, and to remind them that children are worth challenging the status quo for.”

FreedomWorks and its network of 15,000 volunteer activists in the state of Louisiana launched a grassroots campaign this week to support Governor Bobby Jindal’s education reform package. To advance these reforms, a broad coalition of local activists, tea party groups, and educational reform groups have been visiting district offices, phone banking, door-to-door neighborhood walking, as well as hosting strategy calls, education seminars and campaign meetings throughout the state. FreedomWorks plans to maximize the efforts of the activists on the ground with voter education materials, targeted door hangers, yard signs, t-shirts, and bumper magnets. FreedomWorks is confident that these measures will pass both legislative chambers, and despite protests from the unions, end up on the Governor’s desk for his signature soon.


Campus Paper Won‘t Print Horowitz Response to ’Anti-Muslim Bigot’ Charge‏

When David Horowitz, famed pro-Israel and anti-radical Islam activist, spoke at the University of North Carolina, he received a famously chilly reception from the students, including one whose father has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. But UNC wasn’t done with Horowitz – he was also hammered by no less than three people in the campus paper, the Daily Tar Heel for alleged anti-Muslim feelings.

Horowitz isn’t taking it lying down. In a letter originally sent to (and apparently rejected by) the Daily Tar Heel, obtained exclusively by the Blaze, Horowitz throws down the gauntlet for his critics and challenges them on the idea that speaking out against radical Islam necessarily makes one a bigot:
Bronson Brim
Chairman Daily Tar Heel Board
University of North Carolina

Dear Bronsom,
I am appealing to you as the chairman of the Tar Heel Board to honor the principles of journalistic integrity that are included in the statement of Tar Heel policy. I note that the Tar Heel policy commits the Tar Heel to embracing standard journalistic ethics and to serving opinions that are not generally heard in the UNC community.
I have been slandered by three opinion columnists of your paper as anti-Muslim bigot. Your own reporter accurately quoted the statement I made in my speech at UNC two days ago that there are good Muslims as well as bad Muslims. I also said in a passage she didn’t quote that the majority of Muslims are decent, law abiding people who want peace. I made no statements in my speech that could be construed as anti-Muslim. I asked your editor Steven Norton to publish a short letter in which I defended myself. So far I have not heard back from him despite repeated attempts to reach him. Is it your policy to allow people to use your pages to defame others without evidence and have no opportunity to respond and clear their name? Consider that the UNC students who invited me now stand accused on their own campus of inviting a religious bigot. Surely, politics aside, the Tar Heel community should have the decency to recognize when an injustice is being done not only to an invited visitor but to UNC students to correct it.

This is my the letter I sent to Steven Norton responding to the slander by Josh Orol and Stephen Mitchell which appeared your paper:
Dear Steven,

While the Tar Heel reporter wrote a fair-minded piece about the circumstances surrounding my speech (and I applaud you for that), two op-ed columns and a letter also appeared which misrepresented what I said and defamed me in the process. I would very much appreciate it if you would run the following as a letter to the editor, or preferably as an op-ed column:

Apparently, it is easier for the presidents of campus Hillel and the Muslim Students Association to condemn a defender of Israel than to condemn those who call for the destruction of Israel and America, and the murder of their inhabitants. Hassan Nasrallah, the head of Hizbollah has called for “Death to America” and “Death to Israel” publicly as have Mahmoud Achmadinejad, the president of Iran, Mahmoud al-Zahar, the founder and leader of Hamas and Ahmed Bahar, a lesser known member of Hamas who was chairman of the Gaza Parliament. The spiritual head of the Muslim Brotherhood, Yusef al-Qaradawi has publicly said that the Holocaust was a just punishment for the Jews and wished that the followers of Allah would finish the job that Hitler started. On campuses across America, members of Students for Justice in Palestine and the Muslim Students Association along with assorted leftwing groups have chanted, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.” The Jordan River is Israel’s eastern border; the Mediterranean Sea is its border to the west. In other words these students are chanting “Destroy the Jewish state.”

In their Tar Heel columns, the presidents of MSA and Hillel accuse me of being an anti-Muslim bigot. This is a lie exposed by the Tar Heel’s own reporter who quoted me accurately saying in my speech, “There are good Muslims and there are bad Muslims.” I also said that “the majority of Muslims [are]… “decent, law abiding citizens…who want peace.” I then pointed out that there were also good Germans but that in the end they didn’t make “a damn’s worth of difference.” This is a true statement, and no one would accuse me of being anti-German for making it.

Unfortunately, conflating Muslim terrorists with all Muslims is a typical tactic of campus apologists for jihadists who are at war with Israel and the United States. Opponents of the Islamic jihad against the West, like myself, are routinely accused of being “anti-Muslim,” which is a term designed to shut down debate and make opponents of genocidal movements seem the indecent ones — instead of those who make excuses for them. This concerted assault on a civil exchange of ideas does not prevent these same students from forming groups like “The UNC Committee on Israeli-Palestinian Dialogue” whose founder walked out of my speech when it had barely begun.

The closed-minded students – mainly but not exclusively members of MSA – who came not to listen to what I had to say but with the intention of walking out on cue exemplified an attitude that is all too common on campuses today. The intent of these “protests” is to defame a speaker whose views they oppose but cannot answer intellectually.

The Environmental Studies major who joined their walkout and wrote a letter about it to the Tar Heel is apparently hard of hearing. I did not say that Palestinians were descended from red-headed Philistines. I said the geographical term “Palestine” is an appellation that was given by the Romans to the historic homeland of the Jews to humiliate them since it was indeed from derived the word “Philistine,” their historic enemies.

Mahmoud Al-Zahar, the co-founder of Hamas and one of its current leaders has said, “There is no place for you Jews among us, and you have no future among the nations of the world. You are headed for annihilation.” If the Muslim Students Association on this campus does not support Hamas or this statement, its leaders should say so. If the student co-president of campus Hillel is appalled by this statement he should not call someone who is also appalled by it “anti-Muslim.” The majority of Muslims, as I said in my speech, are law-abiding, decent and peaceful people who would (or should) be appalled by it as well.

David Horowitz

For those curious what Horowitz is responding to, this sample from UNC Hillel President Josh Orol’s article should sum it up nicely:
To make the broad claim that Arabs want to kill Jews — and that Islam is a militant religion bent on the destruction of Israel and the United States — is to destroy the principle of pluralism that the freedom of speech is meant to uphold.

Horowitz’s remarks marginalize Muslims and their faith, undermining the respect for minorities that makes possible UNC’s diverse but unified student body.

We will not stand for discriminatory generalizations directed toward any group of students on this campus, especially ones with whom we have such a good relationship. UNC Hillel students stand in public solidarity with the UNC Muslim Student Association and all those whom Horowitz has offended. Hate speech has no place in our community.

Orol has yet to author any pieces condemning the anti-Jewish bigotry of many prominent Arab leaders in the third world. Nor is it clear why the Tar Heel has refused to print Horowitz’s reply.


Bullied to death in an Australian school

Indiscipline bears fruit. Guess why 39% of Australian High School students are in private schools?

THE family of teenager Alex Wildman, who took his own life after being beaten and bullied at school, is to receive a six-figure payout from the New South Wales Education department.

The 14-year-old died by suicide on July 25, 2008 at his family's home at Goonellabah, near Lismore, after being bullied by other pupils at Kadina High School.

Alex, described as a "highly intelligent and sensitive young man", endured attacks and threats at Ingleburn High School in Sydney in 2007 and the bullying started again when he moved to Kadina.

A coroner found bullying had contributed to his suicide and made various recommendations, including that the department ensure students at large high schools have access to full-time school counsellors.

The family began a civil case against the department, claiming it breached its duty of care owed to Alex.

But on Friday - the National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence - a District Court judge was told the case had been settled in favour of the family.

The figure, believed to be close to $1 million, will be held in trust until the youngest of Alex's three siblings turns 18.

A departmental statement later said the death of Alex was a tragedy.

"The NSW Department of Education and Communities offers its condolences to Alex's family and friends," it said. "The recommendations from the coronial inquiry into Alex Wildman's death are being implemented by the department.

"The terms of settlement in this matter make further comment inappropriate."


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