American Elephants


Betsy DeVos Spoke Here Last Friday by The Elephant's Child

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was here last Friday to speak to the annual dinner of the Washington Policy Center at the Hyatt Regency. Protesters (read teacher’s unions) turned out to protest along with some local politicians. King County Executive Dow Constantine, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, and Bellevue Mayor John Stokes all joined the protesters. Constantine stated that he was the proud son of two public school teachers, a proud graduate of public schools and his daughter would be in public school in two years. The protest crowd had giant balloons — a cat to represent “corporate fat cats” and a man in a hard hat who represented something or other.

All very strange. Betsy DeVos is advocating more charter schools—which are public schools. Charter Schools are opposed by the American Federation of Teachers. The Democratic Party depends on union money for their campaigns and union workers for their demonstrations. Some charter schools are run by businesses who have developed different organization and different programs for their particular kind of charter school. In North Dakota there is a charter school that prepares kids who don’t want to attend college for jobs in the oil and gas industry. Last year, a charity gala raised $35 million for Success Academy charter schools which will benefit thousands of underprivileged kids. But charter schools are publicly-funded public schools.

At Success Academy schools in New York, three quarters of students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch and nearly all are minorities. In 2015 68% of their students scored proficient in reading and 93% ranked proficient in math. In contrast only 35% of New York City students scored proficient in math and their reading abilities were even worse.

Minnesota passed the first charter-school law 25 years ago. Today nearly 3,000,000 students attend about 7,000 charter schools in 43 states and the District of Columbia. New Orleans all-charter district has raised graduation rates by 10 percentage points over the past decade. Charter enrollment is at record highs in New Orleans, Detroit, Washington DC, Kansas City, Philadelphia, Indianapolis, New York City, Los Angeles, Miami and Huston.

We should work to make traditional public schools as good as they can possibly be—but where layers of rules and regulations have made reform difficult, charters offer the chance of a clean slate. As taxpayer-funded public schools, charters are open to all students and subject to the same accountability systems as traditional public schools. What makes charters unique is their freedom from the unnecessary, outdated, and counterproductive work rules vigorously defended by the teachers’ unions….

Many regular-enrollment students in charters would have been placed into special education had they gone to a traditional public school. Charters are serving these kids; they just don’t classify them as disabled. The most plausible explanation for why: students attending charters do better academically than they would have done otherwise, thus eliminating the need for extra services.

The American cities that have most improved their schools are those that have wholeheartedly embraced charters. Their success suggests that policy makers should stop listening to the unions and thinking of charters are an innovation around the edges of the public school system and realize they are a better way to organize public education.

College professors across the country are complaining about their incoming students, saying they don’t know anything, can’t write, and are unprepared for college work. There is seldom a week that goes by without a report of a public school teacher arrested for having sex with a student. In some schools the idea that one can choose their sexual identity is accepted. It is school policy in some European countries, notably Sweden, and it remains scientific nonsense. Many schools have encouraged protest against the President as part of the curriculum. There are some real problems with our public schools, and parents need to be very clear about what is being taught if they care about their kids.

 



The Clinton Campaign and the DNC Funded the Trump Dossier by The Elephant's Child

It has been revealed by The Washington Post that the Clinton Campaign and the DNC paid for the research that produced the Russia dossier from which came the allegations that there were links between  President Trump and Russia and some kind of coordination between his campaign and the Kremlin. No wonder Hillary was so insistent about Trump’s Russian connections, her campaign had paid Fusion GPS to produce evidence.

Marc E. Elias, a lawyer from Perkins Coie, who worked for the Clinton campaign and the DNC hired Fusion GPS in April, 2016 to investigate Trump. Fusion GPS hired former MI6 agent Christopher Steele to look into Trump’s activities and contacts in Russia. Steele had worked in Moscow during his time in British intelligence. He eventually produced a 35 page dossier consisting of 17 memos dated between June 20, 2016 and Dec. 13.

Fusion has refused requests from Congress and even in lawsuits to reveal the identities of its clients, and news reports had been vague. A Republican donor who was extremely opposed to Trump reportedly hired Fusion in September of 2015, to conduct routine opposition research, but his identity has not been revealed.

According to the Post, the Clinton Campaign and the DNC paid Fusion through the end of October 2016 just before the election, which they expected to win handily. Federal Election Commission records show the Clinton campaign paid Perkins Coie a total of $5.6 million since November of 2015.

Democrats are weary of Hillary’s book tour, she’s been to England and Canada to sell the book and complain about the unfairness of it all. They wish she would quietly go away. Former candidates are usually not ready to give up, but the people have moved on. The Russia connection is over, but the rage against Trump in general (racist, sexist, fascist) continues even as the list of his accomplishments piles up.

And what was the part of Debbie Wasserman Schultz and her aide who is under indictment? Former DNC chairman Schultz and current leaders of the DNC claim they have no knowledge that the national party was involved with funding a dossier compiled by a British spy which contained scandalous accusations about President Trump. Keith Ellison and Tom Perez claim no knowledge of any association with Perkins Coie. The mystery thickens. There is clearly much more that will and should come out. It’s not going to be pretty.

ADDENDUM: According to a complaint filed today with the Federal Election Commission, the Clinton campaign violated election laws when they failed to report the campaign’s payments for the Russian Dossier.

The complaint from the nonprofit Campaign Legal Center said the Democrats effectively hid the payments from public scrutiny, contrary to the requirements of federal law. By law, campaign and party committees must disclose the reason money is spent and its recipient.

“By filing misleading reports, the DNC and Clinton campaign undermined the vital public information role of campaign disclosures,” said Adav Noti, senior director of trial litigation and strategy at CLC and a former FEC official. “Voters need campaign disclosure laws to be enforced so they can hold candidates accountable for how they raise and spend money. The FEC must investigate this apparent violation and take appropriate action.”

Then there is this posted by Steven Hayward at Powerline. It’s both a don’t miss this, and too cringe inducing to bear. Do watch at least the small excerpt if you can, and the whole thing if you can stand it. Sad.



North Korean Dictator Kim Jong-Un May Have Stubbed His Toe by The Elephant's Child

In a very surprising interview, an academic with close ties to the Chinese government has stated that war with North Korea is under consideration. China’s president Xi Jinping has become fed up with the erratic behaviour of the North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un, in spite of the historic ties between the two countries.

Chong Sho-Hu, a professor of international relations at Renmin University in Beijing, said that Kim Jong-Un and North Korea were “seeking death.” Speaking to the BBC, the professor suggested that just one more missile test would “push the country off the cliff.”

President Jinping was said to be furious when North Korea tested a missile just as China was preparing to host a pivotal global economic conference. The professor said China is mad and wants to punish North Korea.

China’s leader XI Jinping told the Chinese Communist Party Congress that he would build the biggest army in the world, but wanted to avoid any conflict with U.S. President Donald Trump over North Korea. He told delegates that by 2050 China will become a global leader in terms of international influence and national strength, with the rule of law, innovative companies, a clean environment and a growing middle class. “The Chinese people will enjoy greater happiness and well-being, and the Chinese nation will stand taller and firmer in the world.”

This is a remarkable bit of world news, from one stray professor who is said to be close to the administration in China, so I don’t know just how accurate it may be or not, but it is certainly interesting.

President Kim Jong-Un seems to be the only plump person in the North Korean nation, and a good many of his military hangers-on have uniforms that seem too large for their bodies. Whenever Kim Jong-Un appears, everyone smiles broadly and they clap with their hands right up in front of their faces where their enthusiasm can be readily seen. Kim Jong-Un executed one of his uncles with a military howitzer instead of a firing squad, which may have something to do with the odd style of clapping.

 




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