Monday, October 08, 2012

Obama’s Education Plan Means $17 Million in New Union Dues Revenue

Education turned into a key issue in Wednesday’s first presidential debate between President Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney.  Their visions could not have been more divergent and stark.

Romney called for putting federal education dollars into the “backpack” of the student, empowering parents to pick the educational option that best meets the needs of their child.

Obama called for hiring 100,000 new teachers, a familiar refrain during his first term in office. A champion of government school bailouts, Obama emphasizes more teachers, as opposed to insisting on more effective teachers, and refuses to endorse the idea of freeing students to choose their own schools.

While Romney would challenge the failing public education establishment through competition between schools, Obama wants to feed the establishment even more tax dollars. Obama’s call for more teachers is on its surface laudable, but it accomplishes a sinister, political goal: producing more dues revenue for teachers unions, which are close political allies of the president.

How much more revenue? According to calculations, the National Education Association would stand to reap $12.4 million in new dues every year while the American Federation of Teachers would gain about $4.6 million.

And the circle would remain unbroken. The new dues revenue would produce significantly more money to pay for union political efforts, mostly on behalf of Obama and other Democrats.

And let’s not forget the $10 “Obama tax” the NEA is already charging its members to spend on political ad campaigns, including some for the president. With the extra dues, the tax would produce $750,000 in free money overnight, courtesy of school employees compelled to support the union and its political agenda.

While Obama proudly explained his plan to hire 100,000 new teachers, Romney responded by saying the amount ($90 billion) that Obama’s administration has spend to bolster failed “green energy” development could have paid for 2 million new teachers.

We were surprised and pleased that education played such a large role in the presidential debate. It has been largely absent from the conversation until how.

The candidates’ visions for the government education system could not be more contrasting and consequential. Voters interested in improving public education will have a very clear choice in November


British sports college bans parents from watching competitive matches because of ‘child protection rules’

Parents wanting to watch their children play sport at a specialist sports college have been banned from attending home matches

Teachers at the 1,280-pupil Lea Valley High School in Enfield, north London, wrote to parents at the start of term, telling them the decision had been made because of ‘child protection rules’.

The school, which became a specialist sports college in 2002, has links with top football, rugby and hockey clubs, with several ex-pupils on the books of Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United.
School bosses at Lea Valley High School are defending the policy of banning parents from watching their children play in home games, saying it was not a case of 'health and safety gone mad'

School bosses at Lea Valley High School are defending the policy of banning parents from watching their children play in home games, saying it was not a case of 'health and safety gone mad'

In a letter to parents from Laura Hunt, the director of physical education at the comprehensive school, she said that parents and carers were banned from the school grounds during home matches against other schools.

She said: “We appreciate that parents/carers may wish to come along and watch and support their children.

'However, as a school staff, we have a duty of care to our students and have to ensure that appropriate safeguarding and children protection policies are adopted, implemented and monitored.

'As such, for our students’ safekeeping, we must state that we cannot permit parents/carers or other adults on site at these times, and hope that you will understand and support us in this decision.'

One father, who asked not to be named, said 'I have never heard anything so stupid.

Parents have slammed the touchline ban, saying that a school which specialises in sport should ‘back parents to the hilt’ in supporting their children.

'A school which specialises in teaching children sport should back parents to the hilt if they want to come and watch their children play football, rugby, hockey or whatever it may be.

'After the success of the Olympics you would have thought teachers would be supporting sporting success, not putting a dampener on it.”

Another parent, a mother-of-two, said she was ‘furious’ after reading the letter.

She said: 'I’ve always supported my son playing football and used to cheer him on from the touchline, but now I’ve been told that I can’t because of child protection issues.

'I simply cannot see what they are talking about - everyone knows everyone else and if some weirdo turned up we’d all know about it and confront them.'

She added: 'Having a crowd cheering you on is an important part of sport and this decision is devastating to both children and parents.”

Another father said: 'It’s a hysterical reaction - why is everybody treated as if they are a criminal?'

Among the former pupils now playing professionally include former Arsenal player Paul Rodgers, now with Northampton Town, Ahmed Abdulla, of West Ham but currently on loan to Swindon Town, and Josh Scowen, of Wycombe Wanderers. It also produced sisters Rosie and Mollie Kmita, who play for Tottenham Hotspur Ladies FC.

School bosses, however, defending the policy this week, saying it was not a case of ‘health and safety gone mad’.

Head Janet Cullen said:'The safety of young people is paramount.

Unfortunately, we do not have the capacity to supervise groups of parents and friends who wish to spectate.

'Matches are held through the goodwill of our staff, which we obviously wish to promote - particularly with the national focus on encouraging young people to participate in competitive sport post the Olympics.'

According to the school website ‘PE is at the centre of the curriculum’, stating: 'We have strong partnerships with many organisations including Tottenham Hotspur Football Club and their foundation project and Saracens Rugby Club through our use of the RFU community sports scheme.

'Lea Valley High School has outstanding facilities which include a sports hall, gymnasium, dance studio, astroturf, hard courts, playing fields and a state of the art fitness suite.

'These are used extensively in our extra-curricular provision and by our local community to develop performance.'


Debunking climate propaganda earns you a 'fail’ in British exam

Two weeks ago I described one of this year’s A-level General Studies papers which asked candidates to discuss various “source materials” on climate change. Drawn from propaganda documents wholly biased in favour of climate alarmism, these contained a plethora of scientific errors. I suggested that, if any clued-up students tore these “sources” apart as they deserved, they might have been given a “fail”.

Sure enough, an email from the mother of just such a student confirmed my fears. Her son is “an excellent scientist” who got “straight As” on his other science papers, but he is also “very knowledgeable about climate change and very sceptical about man-made global warming”. His questioning of the sources earned an “E”, the lowest possible score. His mother then paid £60 for his paper to be re-marked. It was judged to be “articulate, well-structured” and clearly well-informed, but again he was marked down with “E” for fail.

This young man’s experience speaks volumes about the way the official global-warming religion has so corrupted our education system that it has parted company with proper scientific principles. In his efforts to reform our dysfunctional exam system, Michael Gove should ask for this bizarre episode to be investigated.

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