Darrell Castle talks about the economic and educational divide of married and non-married people.
Darrell talks about a recent CFR report on how education failure affects national security and the economy.
Darrell talks about how student loans and Obamacare are impacting our economy.
Darrell discusses the Occupy Wall Street protest:
Last night President Obama delivered his State of the Union address, as he is required by the Constitution to do once each year. Although he covered many different areas, he concentrated on only three: the domestic economy, which includes what he called job creation, domestic policy topics such as education and energy, and foreign policy, which includes military and defense issues.
The President told us that the nation is doing well economically and is on its way to recovery from recession. Evidence of this recovery, according to the President, is the “booming stock market.”
My response is that it is utterly ridiculous to say that we are well into recovery because the stock market is booming. Tell that news to the 43 million plus who have to use food stamps to eat. Tell that to the 15 million plus unemployed people. That number would be much higher than 15 million if the government kept honest numbers and counted the people who are no longer looking for jobs. Tell that to the millions of underemployed who used to have good jobs in manufacturing with benefits and who now work in service-related jobs with no benefits.
The President said that we can’t live in the past with regard to our economy. For example, it used to take about 1000 jobs to operate a steel mill, but now it only takes 100, so we must adjust to that reality and innovate. What he didn’t say is that any jobs in steel are being performed in Korea and other countries and no amount of innovation will change that.
What then is the answer to our economic problems? First, do no more harm with bailouts. Stop all bailouts and recover any money previously committed to bailouts that has not already been spent. Withdraw from all so-called free trade agreements such as NAFTA, CAFTA, WTO, and GATT which have been largely responsible for the destruction of America’s manufacturing base. Remove the regulations and restrictions that prevent businesses from doing business in America and from hiring the people they need to make the things that people want to buy.
Finally, the economy cannot recover until the debt and deficit are resolved through de-leveraging of debt and control of spending. Stop spending more than you take in. It is a simple concept that Americans understand but that apparently their politicians don’t. Once the debt and deficit are under control, the President should endeavor to drive a stake through the heart of the entire Federal Reserve system and return to a monetary system based on sound money principles. Stop the destruction of our currency immediately.
The President also told us that educationally we are doing well, but we can do better, so he launched a program called Race to the Top in all fifty states to replace No Child Left Behind. This is also total nonsense. The United States continues to lag behind other nations in math, science, and reading skills. Our system of education, controlled and paid for by the federal government, is a failure and should be scrapped and replaced with state and local control, with primary responsibility left to parents. There is no role for the federal government in education whatsoever.
The nation’s energy needs could be met largely by domestic production if we were to allow our own domestic sources of energy to be exploited by repeal of harmful laws that unnecessarily restrain production. Technology will now allow energy exploration and production with minimal damage to the environment. This would prevent the US government from exploring for oil in the Middle East through military force and help foster a more peaceful world.
Finally, the President talked about “shaping” a better world through strengthening NATO and rebuilding our relationship with Russia. He stated that 100,000 of our troops have come home from Iraq with their heads held high. That is also complete nonsense. It’s not his job to shape the world, it’s his job to protect and defend the Constitution and the American people. Many of those 100,000 troops didn’t come home but went to Afghanistan instead. Thousands of others did come home but in boxes or in rehab hospitals.
What then is the foreign policy answer? Issue an order to General Patraeus and the other commanders to execute an immediate withdrawal from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq. Then order a military withdrawal from the other 100 nations around the world where we have over 700 foreign bases. That would save many lives, much money, and would create far fewer enemies than we are creating now.
We simply must stop acting as if we own the world or as if we are responsible for it. That would not be isolationism but instead a lack of military domination. The US would trade with all nations who were willing to trade with us. Creditor nations would probably appreciate our new monetary policy whereby they were paid with real instead of counterfeit money.
If the President were to dedicate himself to the ideas proposed in this response to his speech, we would be well on our way to the most dynamic period in American history.
- Darrell Castle
A recent article in the Memphis Commercial Appeal entitled “MCS Sets Stage for Test-Results Shock” tells us that the Memphis City School system is failing to educate the children of Memphis, and since it is failing in such spectacular fashion, it is entitled to more money.
We learn from the article that Memphis City Schools Superintendent Kriner Cash predicts that city math scores could be in the low teens – at least 30 points into the new “fail zone” – as a result of higher grading standards and more difficult tests.
You may recall that due to a recent court decision, $57 million has to come from the city budget for the schools system, and Mayor Wharton has ordered across the board cuts to comply with the court’s order.
In addition to that, under the guidelines in Tennessee’s application for federal funding in the state’s Race To The Top program, Tennessee was one of two states awarded more than $500 million, with Memphis City Schools due to receive $68.5 million.
Despite this funding, in July of this year Governor Bredesen said Tennessee was seeking a waiver from federal No Child Left Behind requirements, including academic progress. Superintendent Cash said the waiver is unlikely.
Why can’t we educate our children despite all the funding? Perhaps it is because the goal of education is no longer helping children use their minds better for critical thinking and individual responsibility. Instead it is to control their conduct and thinking and direct those things toward a set of federally-approved objectives.
That is what the No Child Left Behind program is about: the sacrifice of individuality for the advancement of the group as a whole.
Cooperative non-learning promotes a lowest common denominator, group consensus approach to problem solving. Since there are no absolute values or standards held by the group, we develop a valueless, morally bankrupt society.
Photo credit: alternatephotography
What are the results of all this education for our children and for our society?
We have a bunch of sick children on our hands and a society with extremely high social costs that we just can’t seem to find an answer for. Each year American children lag behind their peers in the developed world in math and the natural sciences. Reading skills continue to decline year after year due to whole language non-reading programs that destroy children’s reading ability, thus crippling them for life.
Rampant sexual promiscuity at ever-earlier grades leads to pregnancies at ever-earlier grades. Since we have no values, we have no answers, and as a result we just teach them how to do it better and safer.
Rampant drug and alcohol abuse are the norm. Discipline is forbidden, so children are drugged into compliance, and when that doesn’t work they are arrested.
What then is the solution? Homeschooling, religious schools, other private schools and schools controlled and funded locally if local communities want publicly-funded education. Return to basics, especially in reading, math, and the sciences.
Tennessee’s lottery scholarship program, which began in 2004 and now provides scholarship help to 100,000 Tennessee students per year is running a multimillion dollar deficit and must be cut, lawmakers say.
According to a recent article in the Nashville Tennessean, the program will run a $17 million deficit this year, which is expected to rise to $27 million by 2011.
Originally the program was designed to encourage high school students who maintained at least a B average to choose Tennessee schools. The program has been expanded several times since then to include other groups such as returning veterans, foster children, high-schoolers enrolled in college classes, students in teaching curriculums, and technical school students.
Recently the GPA requirement of 2.75 was removed so that students who could not maintain at least a 2.75 GPA could keep the scholarship. The removal of the GPA requirement pushed the program into an accelerating deficit.
Officials who oversee the scholarship program are apparently not all that upset about the looming deficits, because they expected it to be much higher, at several hundred million. There is a very healthy rainy day fund of $319 million that is raining red ink in the scholarship program right now. Lawmakers periodically raid the fund to get money for their pet projects. The last time they withdrew $70 million to make Tennessee schools more energy efficient.
Officials realize that they can’t continue to rely on the rainy day fund and they must get the program under control. Some tough decisions will have to be made about which part(s) of the program to cut. Reinstating the 2.75 GPA requirement and taking a hard line on it would be a good first start.
Unfortunately it appears that the problems in the scholarship program are not related to a decrease in gambling, because the money coming into the program would have been more than adequate had the rules of participation remained unchanged.
Tennessee’s program is not the only state scholarship program in trouble. For example, last year Michigan had to eliminate a $140 million scholarship program. The state universities were forced to scramble to replace the program with their own funds.
It is evident that, for many institutions, their own funds could be adequate to provide a merit-based scholarship fund, or at least to contribute significantly to one. Many colleges and universities have massive endowments that are sitting in accounts earning interest or sometimes being destroyed by bad investments in an economic downturn year.
Why not use some of that money to help deserving students?