Millennial parents are right to support school choice

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This November, Arizona voters will decide whether the state's parents should get to choose what education is best for their children. Arizona has long been working to give parents this choice. In 2011, it became the first state to implement Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) for select families, to help them attain academic excellence. Just last year, the Grand Canyon State became the first state to make ESAs available to all families. This year, however, Arizona voters will be voting on a ballot referendum to decide whether the ESA expansion will continue.

Millennials could play a significant role in making that decision. Not only are millennials a considerable voting bloc, they are also becoming parents. When it comes to their children's education, Millennials know what they want: school choice.

And they have good reason.

With ESAs, parents can decide to enroll their children in online classes, private school, community college, or homeschool—whatever they feel is best—without fearing that they will be unable to afford these choices. When a parent withdraws a child from public school, ESAs allow parents to use a government-issued debit card to use the child's public, per-pupil funding to cover authorized educational costs such as tuition for online classes, private schools or community colleges, or homeschool curricula.

Other forms of school choice offer similar benefits. Charter schools for example, are established by independent innovators but receive public funding in return for reporting and accountability requirements. Similarly, voucher programs allow parents to use a portion of their child's public per-pupil funding to help cover the cost of tuition at a preferred private school.

These programs are truly improving student performance.

These programs are truly improving student performance.

In Milwaukee, school choice students are more likely to enroll in college and remain in college than their public school peers, according to a study by the Urban Institute. Students in Florida's program are more likely to enroll in college than their peers by almost 15 percent, according to the Urban Institute, and in Washington, D.C., the U.S. Department of Education found that school choice vouchers improved reading levels by an equivalent of 3.1 months of learning when compared to public school reading levels.

Unlike the school choice programs in Milwaukee, Florida, and DC, which are available only to qualifying disadvantaged and minority students, New Orleans' program is available to everyone. Since the program's birth in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, average student performance improved by 15 points, according to the Education Research Alliance, and African-American students are now outperforming their peers in statewide assessments and graduation rates, according to New Schools for New Orleans.

School choice is also improving academic performance abroad. The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) tests 15-year olds around the world in science, mathematics, and reading every three years. According to data from PISA 2015 and EdChoice, 70 percent of the countries that outperformed the United States in reading offer school choice programs. The same is true for 65 percent of countries who outperformed the U.S. in science, and for 57 percent of countries who outperformed us in mathematics.

It's no surprise, then, that school choice programs are popular in the U.S. A 2017 Beck Research survey found that 68 percent of Americans support school choice programs.

Support among millennials is even more robust. The Beck survey found that three-quarters of millennials favored school choice.

Critics, however, condemn choice programs for reducing academic performance and for promoting segregation.

Some studies find that school choice programs reduce academic performance because they do not offer real choice. The The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) studied 72 countries and concluded that regulatory barriers preventing schools from offering different perspectives, curricula, or teaching styles, render choice meaningless.

The Education Research Alliance study in New Orleans echoed these findings, noting that school leaders there believed a critical reason for their success was the system's flexibility, especially in personnel management, allowing leaders to hire and fire teachers as they felt best, free from state constraints and union contracts.

Absent the flexibility underpinning school choice, we should not expect to see its advantages.

Absent the flexibility underpinning school choice, we should not expect to see its advantages.

As for segregation, the liberal-leaning Brookings Institution found that school choice programs are more likely to be located in areas with greater need. Therefore, the appearance of segregation is no surprise. Brookings suggested a better measure of segregation is to compare changes in community demographics over time to changes in school demographics. Using this measure, Brookings found no meaningful relationship between segregation and school choice.

Even in New Orleans' universal school choice systems, where critics claimed that selective schools would pick high-achieving students and leave disadvantaged and minority students behind, Brookings found no increases in segregation, and 71 percent of students, including disadvantaged and minority students, were accepted into their first choice schools.

Millennial parents can expand on these developments. They care deeply about diversity. In employment, they look for companies that practice diversity, and they shop with brands that reflect their values, even when cheaper or more convenient brands are available. As schools compete for our dollars they will be rewarded for reflecting our values, driving them and their competitors to similarly pursue diversity and excellence.

Millennials certainly don't have all of the answers, but with school choice they do see an opportunity to do better for their children than the status quo did for us. Now it's up to voters and our politicians to help us take it.

Kristiana Bolzman is a writer for Young Voices, and works at a free market think tank in the San Francisco Bay Area. She can be found on Twitter @KristianaBolzmn.

On Monday's radio program, Glenn Beck and Stu Burguiere discussed former Starbucks CEO and progressive Howard Schultz, a lifelong Democrat who has not only been disowned by the Democrat Party but he can no longer set foot inside of a Starbucks store because of his success in business.

In this clip, Stu explained how at one time Starbucks only sold coffee in bags until Schultz, an employee at the time, convinced the company to open a Starbucks cafe.

Click here to watch the full episode.

At one point, the owners came close to closing down the cafe, but Schultz eventually managed to purchase the company and transform it into the empire that it is today.

Stu continued, describing how Schultz, a lifelong Democrat, went on to implement liberal corporate policies that earned the company a reputation for being a "beacon" of liberalism across the country.

"And now he (Schultz) can't even get into the Democrat Party," Stu said."That is craziness," Glenn replied.

Citing a "60 Minutes" interview, Glenn highlighted the journey that Schultz traveled, which started in the New York City projects and evolved, later becoming the CEO of a coffee empire.

"This guy is so American, so everything in business that we want to be, he has taken his beliefs and made it into who he is which is very liberal," Glenn explained.

Catch more of the conversation in the video below.


This article provided courtesy of TheBlaze.

This weekend, March 17, Rep. Rashida Tlaib will be speaking at (Council on American Islamic Relations) CAIR-Michigan's 19th annual "Faith-Led, Justice Driven" banquet.

Who knows what to expect. But here are some excerpts from a speech she gave last month, at CAIR-Chicago's 15th annual banquet.

RELATED: CLOSER LOOK: Who is Rep. Ilhan Omar?

You know the speech is going to be good when it begins like this:


CAIR-Chicago 15th Annual Banquet: Rashida Tlaib youtu.be


It's important to remember CAIR's ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. Think of CAIR as a spinoff of HAMAS, who its two founders originally worked for via a Hamas offshoot organization (the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP)).

A 2009 article in Politico says feds "designated CAIR a co-conspirator with the Holy Land Foundation, a group that was eventually convicted for financing terrorism."

The United Arab Emirates has designated CAIR a terrorist organization.

In 1993, CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper told a reporter for the Minneapolis Star Tribune:

I wouldn't want to create the impression that I wouldn't like the government of the United States to be Islamic sometime in the future.

In 1998, CAIR co-founder Omar Ahmad said:

Islam isn't in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant. The Koran … should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on Earth.

Notice the slight underhanded jab at Israel. It's just one of many in her speech, and is indicative of the growing anti-Semitism among Democrats, especially Tlaib and Omar.

Most of the speech, as you might expect, is a long rant about the evil Donald Trump.

I wonder if she realizes that the Birth of Jesus pre-dates her religion, and her "country." The earliest founding of Palestine is 1988, so maybe she's a little confused.

Then there's this heartwarming story about advice she received from Congressman John Dingell:

When I was a state legislator, I came in to serve on a panel with him on immigration rights, and Congressman Dingell was sitting there and he had his cane, if you knew him, he always had this cane and he held it in front of him. And I was so tired, I had driven an hour and a half to the panel discussion at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor campus. And I sit down, my hair is all messed up, and I said, 'Oh, my God, I'm so tired of this. I don't know how you've been doing it so long Congressman. They all lie.' And he looks at me and he goes. (She nods yes.) I said, 'You know who I'm talking about, these lobbyists, these special interest [groups], they're all lying to me.' … And he looks at me, and he goes, 'Young lady, there's a saying in India that if you stand still enough on a riverbank, you will watch your enemies float by dead.'

What the hell does that mean? That she wants to see her enemies dead? Who are her enemies? And how does that relate to her opening statement? How does it relate to the "oppression" her family faced at the hand of Israel?

Glenn Beck on Wednesday called out Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) for their blatantly anti-Semitic rhetoric, which has largely been excused by Democratic leadership. He noted the sharp contrast between the progressive principles the freshmen congresswomen claim to uphold and the anti-LGBTQ, anti-feminist, anti-Israel groups they align themselves with.

Later this month, both congresswomen are scheduled to speak at fundraisers for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a pro-Palestinian organization with ties to Islamic terror groups including Hamas, Hezbollah, al-Qaeda, and the Islamic State.

Rep. Tlaib will be speaking at CAIR-Michigan's 19th Annual Banquet on March 17 in Livonia, Michigan, alongside keynote speaker Omar Suleiman, a self-described student of Malcolm X with links to the Muslim Brotherhood. Suleiman has regularly espoused notably "un-progressive" ideas, such as "honor killings" for allegedly promiscuous women, mandatory Hijabs for women, death as a punishment for homosexuality, and men having the right to "sex slaves," Glenn explained.

Rep. Omar is the keynote speaker at a CAIR event on March 23 in Los Angeles and will be joined by Hassan Shibly, who claims Hezbollah and Hamas are not terrorist organizations, and Hussam Ayloush, who is known for referring to U.S. armed forces as radical terrorists.

Watch the clip below for more:


This article provided courtesy of TheBlaze.

The roots of AOC

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It wasn't too long ago that Blanca thought it was all over.

Born in Puerto Rico, Blanca lived in New York most of her life. Recently, a reporter from the Daily Mail sent a reporter to interview Blanca. When the reporter arrived, Blanca was calmly sculpting wood in the front yard of her modest, 860-square-foot home down the street from a cemetery. Occasionally, a drug deal takes place out front, and the house is crumbling in parts, but Blanca has been fixing it up since she moved in a couple years ago, and this is home.

Reading the article, you can feel the writer's surprise, you can feel an unsuspecting writer being wrapped in Blanca's story.

RELATED: We are all now dumber for what Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez had to say

By day, Blanca works for the Lake County School District as a clerical assistant.

This is a story about mothers.

Blanca is a woman who makes lasagna for visiting relatives and watches over her 78-year-old mother, "who suffers from pulmonary fibrosis and often breathes oxygen from a concentrator, and a loud rescue mutt named Tammy."

This is a story about daughters.

Because Blanca always believed in her daughter. Believed her daughter would be important. And, regardless of your opinion on her daughter—and, believe me, you have an opinion about her daughter, because everybody has an opinion about her daughter—there's no denying the wholesomeness of this story, so hear me out.

"Her dad and I were preparing for Alexandria's birth and still picking names," Blanca told the reporter. "And he came up with 'Alexandria.' I thought about it for a while and I said: 'Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. That sounds very powerful. That'll be her name.'"

Yes, that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the infamous millennial Democratic Socialist who represents New York's 14th district (covering the Bronx and Queens) in the House of Representatives.

And her mother is Blanca Ocasio-Cortez.

Blanca married Sergio Ocasio in Puerto Rico, then moved to New York. She knew very little English, but she learned. She worked the jobs nobody else wanted. She mopped floors at night, she drove school buses, she answered phones, took orders.

In 1989, she gave birth to her first child, a girl, in The Bronx, New York City. Two years later, she gave birth to a boy.

Until Alexandria was five, the family lived in a one-bedroom condo in the Parkchester neighborhood of the Bronx.

Theirs was an American struggle.

Theirs was an American struggle. Sergio worked hard until he had his own business, and the small family pooled together their resources and took out a mortgage, and moved into "a small single-family house with a yard in nearby Yorktown Heights."

"We had a great life there," Blanca said. "Alexandria was very social, so she always had a bunch of girls over. She took over the shed in the backyard. She cleaned it up, put up curtains and photos and made it look nice, and that was like a clubhouse for her and her friends."

Blanca talks about her daughter the way any good mother does, recalling that her daughter was always talkative.

"When I took her to her pre-K interview, she didn't let me talk much. She was going on and on about knowing the alphabet and being able to count."

In 2008, while Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was a sophomore at Boston University, her father, Blanca's husband, died of lung cancer.

Overnight, Blanca had to become the breadwinner.

I was cleaning houses in the morning and working as a secretary at a hospital in the afternoon... it was still difficult making ends meet. At one point, I was skipping mortgage payments and we almost lost the house.

This is a story about a single mother who raised her family after her husband died of lung cancer.

As the Daily Mail notes:

Sergio's death put the family into a tailspin. He had no life insurance, two years of health care bills due and the money his business brought in dried out. Blanca recalls she faced foreclosure not just once, but twice.

"It was scary," Blanca told the reporter. "I had to take medicine I was so scared. I had to stop paying for the mortgage for almost a year. I was expecting someone knocking on the door to kick me out at any time. There were even real estate people coming around to take photos of the house for when it was going to be auctioned. The worst is that I only had $50,000 left to pay on the loan."

Funny enough, it was the bank, not the welfare office or the local church that helped her.

Blanca worked from 6am until 11pm.

And I prayed and prayed, and things worked out. After the children graduated from college, I figured it was time for me to move to Florida.

These days, Blanca lives in Eustis, Florida, a lakefront community of about 16,000 people near Orlando. She moved here just before Christmas in 2016. She'd been paying $10,000 a year in real estate taxes in New York. Now, she pays $600 a year.

When she first got here, the world, her world was much different. Her daughter was a bartender in New York and hadn't filed paperwork to become a Representative.

Really, though, this is a story about what it means to live in America.

"I love privacy and calm," Blanca said. "I don't like the limelight for myself and my family. But it seems that God played quite a joke on me with this politics stuff."

The Daily Mail sent reporter Jose Lambiet, presumably to do a hatchet job. The story is tempting: taxes are so severe in New York that even the mother of the wild-eyed Democratic Socialist representing that area can't even afford to live there. Really, though, this is a story about what it means to live in America.

And while liberal media has paraded the story around with that smug look on their faces, so have conservative outlets, and in both cases they've missed the real story. The human story. The story of all of us. Because Blanca is an American, same as you and me.