Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Congressional Candidates: Solve Education Problems

On my national blogs (yeah, I have two, doesn't everybody?) I have a piece posted Wednesday night that discusses the anti-American, pro-Soviet band, the Decembrists, that helped draw the huge crowd for Obama in Oregon. It's quite fascinating. &

Note: On my Hillary Supporters for McCain site, I have some remarkable comments printed by women talking about specific cases of Clinton supporters moving strongly to McCain. I urge you to visit. I always contineu to urge Republican candidates, especially female ones, to go after the huge Hillary vote. Individuals who believe it's time for women to run for high federal offices should strong support people like Melissa Hart, Toni Gilhooley, and Marina Kats. These are all women of tremendous ability and potential.

From time to time, I'll be writing about keys to victory in November. Specifically, If Republican congressional candidates (and our candidate for President, John McCain) can convince voters they have a plan to solve America's key problems, then they should win.

If they don't win in 2008, they can do so in 2010 or 2012. I strongly believe they should start meditating on victory or defeat on the evening of November 4 (election day). Before that, they should be positive about their chances. The goal at this point should be to build a huge base of support, one that will be in place by October of this year -- and will only grow in future years.

Pennsylvanians, like all Americans, send people to Congress to solve problems -- period. We don't send them there to engage in the mud wrestling that prevails under the leadership of Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats. Congress under Pelosi and Harry Reid now has an approval rating of 22%. That may be higher than it deserves.

The performance of Pennsylvania schools, especially in the cities of Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, is absolutely dismal. If the students stayed at home, they wouldn't be doing much worse than they are now.

Is education in the U.S. and Pennsylvania just hopeless? Is there basically nothing that can be done to end the cycle of failure?

In fact, I hope our Republican congressional candidates will say that there is a solution, and it's relatively simple in conception -- even if it's sometimes difficult in execution.

Two basic steps are necessary on the path to dramatically improving education: (1) merit pay in order to reward superior teachers and administrators; (2) real school choice for parents. In other words, it's time to bring education into the mainstream of a society that practices private enteprise and values choice.

Recently, I wrote about Harlem's "Project Success." It emphasizes charter schools -- ones not subject to the restrictions found in most public schools. The Charter institutions have been mushrooming in Harlem -- and sharply improving the educational performance of students in that area.

At one Project Success school, a class of first-graders began with mathematics scores that showed only 11% of the students were achieving at grade-level. By the end of the year, the number at grade-level had shot up to 86%.

Gee, why aren't we doing the same thing in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Harrisburg -- and, in fact, in every school in the Commonwealth? That is a question the Democrats don't want to answer.

In fact, there is opposition to charter schools like the ones involved in Project Success. The teacher's unions and their Democratic allies in the New York State legislature have opposed some of the key elements of "Success," including longer schools days, non-unionized faculties, and heavy parental support.

I hope our fine Republican candidates say that they support steps that would cause all our school districts to mirror Project Success. It's all well and good to talk about "hope" and "change," but those words must be more than a presidential candidate's empty rhetoric.

Our schools don't exist to provide employment for a minority of mediocre teachers. They should exist to encourage great teaching -- and outstanding performance by students. If our Republican candidates take a no-nonsense stand on this issues, they will get the votes they need to win. .

We need to get across the point that tackling problems like education is not the equivalent of solving the riddle of the universe. Yes, our society does have problems, and no, the Democrats don't have any solutions. Republicans do. It's just that simple.

Please visit the web sites of the following candidates:
Melissa Hart:
Michael Livingston:
Toni Gilhooley:
Marina Kats:

To enable them to bring about positive change, they need your support, including your donations . . .

1 comment:

Mike McNally said...
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