American Elephants


Education Is Really Important, Except When It Isn’t. by The Elephant's Child
May 5, 2009, 9:42 pm
Filed under: Politics | Tags: ,

Washington D.C. public schools are some of the worst in the country, and the most expensive.  About 1,700 kids currently receive $7,500 vouchers to attend private schools under Congress’ Opportunity Scholarship Program.  99 percent of the children are black or Hispanic.  Scholarships are awarded on the basis of a lottery, and are a huge hit with parents.

The Department of Education’s just released annual evaluation of the D.C. program shows that voucher recipients are reading a half-grade higher than their peers who didn’t get a scholarship.  The program’s earliest recipients are 19 months ahead of their public school peers.

The Obamas have chosen a private school for their daughters, as have 44 percent of Senators and 36 percent of Representatives according to the Heritage Foundation. (Whether these are Congressmen who have children of school age, or all Congressmen is unclear).

New Secretary of Education Arne Duncan was recently asked “how important was the school district in your decision about where to live.” Mr. Duncan responded: “She goes to Arlington [Virginia] public schools.  That was why we chose where we live, it was the determining factor…I didn’t want to try to save the country’s children and our educational system and jeopardize my own children’s education.”

President Obama and his Education Secretary have promised to support “what works.” But of course they have decided to end the D.C. voucher program and send the poor kids back to the schools where they would never send their own children.

Addendum:

President Obama has apparently said that he will request funding to keep the D.C. voucher program’s current recipients in private school through high school graduation.  No new participants. This will be meaningless unless he also promises to veto any appropriations bill that kills the program outright. Congress will not follow his wishes unless he indicates that this is a priority for him. Over 1,000 parents turned out to protest, indicating that it is a priority for them, which is why Obama is possibly backing down.



Those Terrible Twisty Lightbulbs Are in The News Again. by The Elephant's Child

There are health hazards to twisty light bulbs. Large numbers of Chinese workers have been poisoned by mercury, which makes up part of a compact fluorescent light bulb. There has been a dramatic surge in demand for the CFL bulbs which has been set off by a European Union directive making these bulbs compulsory within three years. In the U.S. the bulbs become compulsory in 2014. I explained some of the problems here.

The bulbs are all made in China. ( So much for not sending American jobs overseas). The increased demand has led to the reopening in China of mercury mines that have ruined the environment.

Courts, regulators, lawyers and Doctors in China are paying closer attention to the possible impact on public health in an industry that portrays itself as environmentally friendly, but depends entirely on toxic mercury.  All in the cause of preventing CO2 emissions that are of no moment to anyone but the IPCC climate model programmers.

There will be health hazards for members of Congress when the public discovers that they will have to replace most light fixtures in their homes, most lamps, and forego the brighter light of 3-way bulbs, dimmers, spots and any light not emitted by a twisty bulb.



Heads Explode All Over Hollywood by American Elephant
May 5, 2009, 1:31 am
Filed under: Humor, Liberalism | Tags: , ,

The Dalai Lama tells students they should look up to President Bush.




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