Tag Archives: Big Government

Canadian court rules that Christian university cannot uphold Christian moral values

Canada Election 2015: Socialists in red, Communists in Orange, Conservatives in blue
Canada Election 2015: Socialists in red, Communists in Orange, Conservatives in blue

This article about religious liberty in Canada is from Vancouver Sun. (H/T Glenn)

Excerpt:

Ontario’s top court has dismissed an appeal from a private Christian university that forbids sexual intimacy outside heterosexual marriage, denying its proposed law school accreditation in the province.

The ruling from the Ontario Court of Appeal on Wednesday dealt a significant blow to Trinity Western University in a legal battle which pitted freedom of religion against equality rights.

A panel of three appeal court judges found that while the university’s religious freedom had been infringed upon, the institution discriminated against the LGBTQ community.

Trinity Western — which is fighting similar cases at appeal courts in Nova Scotia and British Columbia — expressed disappointment at the ruling, saying it would be taking its fight to the Supreme Court of Canada.

The Ontario case saw the Evangelical Christian institution based in Langley go up against the Law Society of Upper Canada after the regulatory body voted not to accredit the university’s planned law facility.

At the heart of the dispute was Trinity Western’s “community covenant” or code of conduct, which all students are required to agree to.

The key point about the code of conduct is that it doesn’t discriminate against any particular group, e.g. – LGBT. It also forbids excessive drinking and premarital sex by heterosexuals:

It includes requiring students to abstain from gossip, obscene language, prejudice, harassment, lying, cheating, stealing, pornography, drunkenness and sexual intimacy “that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman.”

Now read this next part carefully. Although there was no legal support for denying a Christian university religious liberty and freedom of association, there was the hurt feelings of the LGBTQ community:

“The part of TWU’s Community Covenant in issue in this appeal is deeply discriminatory to the LGBTQ community, and it hurts,” the appeal court ruling said. “The LSUC’s decision not to accredit TWU was indeed a reasonable conclusion.”

In Canada “it hurts” means the end of human rights like religious liberty and freedom of association. Why? Because the Christian community in Canada has – for decades – voted to increase the size of government at the expense of liberty, in order to get free stuff. It doesn’t matter if the Christians who wanted a Christian university are hurt. Or that the Christian students at TWU are hurt. Only the hurt of the LGBT community matters, and their hurt changes laws, criminalizes dissent and annihilates natural rights. There are no such things as freedom of religion and freedom of conscience in Canada. There never was free speech, either. Anything that might hurt the feelings of left-wing groups has to be made criminal.

I’ll put this as plainly as anyone can: Canadian “Christians” have been voting to transfer wealth and power to a big secular government for years. They wanted government to cover health care, and now the government thinks that health care is providing free sex changes, free IVF and free abortions. Canadian “Christians” wanted their 30 pieces of silver more than they wanted the freedom to act as if the Bible was true in public. It turns out that the more wealth and power that you transfer to a secular government, the more likely they are to abuse that wealth and power in trampling out any ideology that interferes with their buying votes from their favored special interest groups.

Report: Common Core does not prepare students for college

Cato Institute graphs education spending against test scores
Cato Institute graphs education spending against test scores

First, let’s recall why Common Core was enacted by the Democrats by excerpting this post from The Pulse.

It says:

When Common Core was sprung on the whole nation in 2010, it promised that every kid graduating high school will be “career- and college-ready.” Career-readiness was quickly left by the wayside — nobody, including the NAGB [National Assessment Governing Board], could figure out what it means — but college-readiness remained the “chicken in every pot” promise of Common Core.

The Daily Signal reports on a new report by the American College of Testing, the group behind the ACT college readiness test.

Excerpt:

A recently released report confirms what Common Core critics have suspected all along: Common Core State Standards do not adequately prepare students for college-level work.

The ACT report finds many concerning shortcomings in the Common Core State Standards, which have been adopted by most states. Notably, the report reveals:

  • “While secondary teachers may be focusing on source-based writing [essays written about source-based documents], as emphasized in the Common Core, college instructors appear to value the ability to generate sound ideas more than some key features of source-based writing.
  • “Some early elementary teachers are still teaching certain math topics omitted from the Common Core standards, perhaps based on the needs—real or perceived—of students entering their classrooms.
  • “In addition, many mathematics teachers in grades 4–7 report including certain topics relevant in STEM coursework in their curricula at grades earlier than they appear in the Common Core.”

Teachers who must adjust their curriculum to fit Common Core aligned state tests now find themselves in a bind. As the report finds, the Common Core math standards do not adequately provide a child with the skills needed to succeed in the classroom, forcing teachers to add on extra material to their limited instruction time.

Additionally, high school English teachers must now emphasize material that leaves students lacking in original thought and analytical skills, according to many college professors. For example, only 18 percent of college professors surveyed rated their students as prepared to distinguish between opinion, fact, and reasoned judgement—a skill determined to be important for college-level work.

The “one-size-fits-all” national standards are underserving American children. It is nearly impossible, and does a great disservice to future generations, to demand uniformity and place restrictions on the classroom that assumes one “best practice.”

Common Core was designed to better prepare students for college, but now we know that it had the exact opposite effect from what the leftists intended – and what the leftists promised us. Just like Obamacare, we elected people who didn’t know what they were doing, did something that made the problem worse, and wasted a ton of taxpayer money in the process. Failure across the board.

One obvious point to make about Common Core is that conservatives are right when we say that education is a state and local issue. It shouldn’t be a federal level issue. Ted Cruz was going to abolish the Department of Education at the federal level and push it down to the states, so that we wouldn’t have screw-ups like this. Just think of all the money that’s been wasted on Common Core, and now we find out that it’s a disaster, just like Head Start.

Big government liberals like the idea of making everything equal, but if everything is equally bad then we really should let parents decide how to educate their kids. They’ll make better choices than secular leftist educrats anyway. The right solution is to give the parents a voucher, and let them choose which school to send their child to – and homeschooling parents should not have to pay into a system that they don’t even use.

DHS whistleblower: Obama administration not serious about Islamic terrorist threat

Is Barack Obama focused on protecting the American people?
Is Barack Obama focused on protecting the American people?

This PJ Media article is by Debra Heine.

Excerpt:

Philip Haney, the Homeland Security whistleblower whose investigation into Islamic infiltration of the U.S. might have prevented the San Bernardino attack, has written an important op-ed for The Hill, warning of President Obama’s misplaced priorities when it comes to national security. In brief, says Haney, “the Obama administration is more concerned with the rights of non-citizens in known Islamist groups than with the safety and security of the American people.”

There are terrorists in our midst and they arrived here using legal means right under the noses of the federal law enforcement agencies whose mission is to stop them. That is not due to malfeasance or lack of effort on the part of these officers; it is due to the restrictions placed on them by the Obama administration.

Not only did the Obama administration shut down an important investigation that could have connected enough dots to prevent the San Bernardino terrorist attack, they went back and erased the dots Haney was “diligently connecting.” Worse yet, when he complained to the DHS inspector general, the DHS and the Department of Justice subjected him “to a series of investigations and adverse actions, including one by that same inspector general.”

None of them showed any wrongdoing; they seemed aimed at stopping me from blowing the whistle on this problem.

Debra links to Gates of Vienna and quotes them about that:

The “behavioral indicators” listed to help DHS agents identify potential domestic terrorists include carrying around a copy of the Constitution, promoting First and Second Amendment rights, having a Gadsden flag sticker on one’s car, and advocating for a minimal federal government.

[The Obama administration’s approach] is thus designed to serve a dual purpose: (1) to protect Muslim Brotherhood organizations and their operatives who have penetrated federal, state, and local governments, and (2) to help the Obama administration crack down on its real enemies, domestic conservatives who want to re-establish constitutional governance.

Debra wrote a couple of prior articles on this DHS whistleblower, one from 12/14 and one from 12/11.

So is it really true that the Obama administration – in their mad rush to let in hundreds of thousands of immigrants from countries that don’t like Western civilization very much – is not serious about keeping terrorists out?

Remember the recent San Bernadino attack?

CBS News reported that 5 different Obama administration agencies failed to detect one of the San Bernadino terrorists:

Tashfeen Malik arrived in the United States with her fiance Syed Farook in July 2014. Just two months earlier, her U.S. government background check found no suspected ties to terrorism.

She was granted a K-1 visa, even though the FBI now believes she was radicalized before she met Farook.

The State Department says Malik was thoroughly questioned during an interview at the U.S. embassy in Pakistan.

[…]Five U.S. agencies also vetted her, checking her fingerprints against two databases. Neither her name nor image showed up on a U.S. terror watch list.

It seems to me our national security agencies have been indoctrinated by their Democrat leaders to target conservative taxpayers instead of radicalized Islamists. And in fact we have evidence of that, reported in the Washington Times way back in 2009:

The Department of Homeland Security is warning law enforcement officials about a rise in “rightwing extremist activity,” saying the economic recession, the election of America’s first black president and the return of a few disgruntled war veterans could swell the ranks of white-power militias.

A footnote attached to the report by the Homeland Security Office of Intelligence and Analysis defines “rightwing extremism in the United States” as including not just racist or hate groups, but also groups that reject federal authority in favor of state or local authority.

“It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single-issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration,” the warning says.

[…]The nine-page document was sent to police and sheriff’s departments across the United States on April 7 under the headline, “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment.”

It says the federal government “will be working with its state and local partners over the next several months” to gather information on “rightwing extremist activity in the United States.”

The joint federal-state activities will have “a particular emphasis” on the causes of “rightwing extremist radicalization.”

The attacks by radical Islamic terrorists are happening because the Obama administration has taken their eyes off the threat from radical Islam, and has instead focused on YOU – the Christian conservative taxpayer who disagrees with abortion and gay marriage and big government socialism. You are the enemy they are watching. That’s why the attacks that actually happen catch them by surprise.

We have terrorist attacks like San Bernadino and Orlando because the government we elected is led by moral relativists – secularist leftists who deny the reality of objective morality.  Their primary objective is not to protect the taxpayers who pay their salaries and pensions. Their primary objective is to praise moral evil, and shame moral goodness. That’s why they have nothing to say about the danger of radical Islam, and instead prefer to talk about expressing peaceful disagreement to their desire to redefine marriage. We are being governed by atheistic sociopaths who cannot reason about morality. And we elected them.

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New study: Tennessee pre-K program provides no educational benefit over control group

This is the most thorough study that I have ever seen evaluating the effectiveness of pre-K programs. The study was done by researchers at Vanderbilt University.

The study was reported on by the well-respected but leftist Brookings Institute.

They write:

State investments in center-based school readiness programs for preschoolers (pre-K), whether targeted for poor children or universally implemented, have expanded more rapidly than evaluations of their effects. Given the current interest and continuing expansion of state funded pre-K, it is especially important to be clear about the nature of the available evidence for the effectiveness of such programs. Despite widespread claims about proven benefits from pre-K, there is actually strikingly little credible research about the effectiveness of public pre-K programs scaled for statewide implementation.

Like many states that became interested in scaling up a state funded pre-K program in the early 2000’s, voluntary pre-K (TNVPK) was introduced in Tennessee in 1996 as a way to provide academic enhancement to economically disadvantaged children. It expanded in 2005 to an $85 million-plus statewide investment serving 18,000 Tennessee income-eligible children in 935 classrooms across all 95 counties.

Launched in 2009, the TNVPK Effectiveness Study, a coordinated effort between Vanderbilt’s Peabody Research Institute and the Tennessee Department of Education, is a five-year evaluation study funded by the US Department of Education, Institute for Education Sciences. It includes the first randomized control trial of a scaled up state funded pre-K program and the first well-controlled comparison group study of the effects of program participation as children progress through elementary school..

Policymakers and proponents often cite some of the famous early studies of pre-K programs that have shown long term benefits extending into adulthood for the participating children. But those were studies of especially complex programs that are unlike scaled-up public pre-K in many ways. The Vanderbilt study is the first rigorous controlled longitudinal study to be conducted on a large-scale state-funded pre-K program.

And here is a summary of the results:

Standard score results from pre-K through 3rd grade on a composite measure that averaged the six achievement subtests are presented from baseline forward in the graph below.

As is evident, pre-K and control children started the pre-K year at virtually identical levels. The TNVPK children were substantially ahead of the control group children at the end of the pre-K year (age 5 in the graph). By the end of kindergarten (age 6 in the graph), the control children had caught up to the TNVPK children, and there were no longer significant differences between them on any achievement measures. The same result was obtained at the end of first grade using two composite achievement measures (the second created with the addition of two more WJIII subtests appropriate for the later grades). In second grade, however, the groups began to diverge with the TNVPK children scoring lower than the control children on most of the measures. The differences were significant on both achievement composite measures and on the math subtests. Differences favoring the control persisted through the end of third grade.

In terms of behavioral effects, in the spring the first grade teachers reversed the fall kindergarten teacher ratings. First grade teachers rated the TNVPK children as less well prepared for school, having poorer work skills in the classrooms, and feeling more negative about school. It is notable that these ratings preceded the downward achievement trend we found for VPK children in second and third grades. The second and third grade teachers rated the behaviors and feelings of children in the two groups as the same; there was a small positive finding for peer relations favoring the TNVPK children by third grade teachers, which did not meet traditional levels of statistical significance.

Results graph:

TNVPK data: pre-K program is in red, baseline is in blue
TNVPK data: pre-K program is in red, baseline is in blue

We are already seeing that cheap daycare in high-tax, big government provinces like Quebec cost a lot, and produce negative results. And of course Hillary Clinton is a longstanding advocate of universal pre-K. As a Senator of New York, she introduced a universal pre-K plan that would cost $10 billion over 5 years. President Barack Obama’s own Preschool for All plan would cost $75 billion over 10 years. This Vanderbilt study should cause us to question whether the policies of the secular left, pushed largely because of emotions and ideology, are worth the tens of billions of dollars they want to take from us. And if you take tens of billions of dollars out of families, then families on the margin will have to give their children to the state to raise. And that includes Christian families, who would no longer be able to afford a stay-at-home mother.

Now, taking children away from parents so that their mothers can work is seen as a worthy goal by those on the secular left. First, communally raising the children is “good” because it removes inequalities between single mothers and traditional working-husband homes. Second, making it easier for women to “go fatherless” is “good” because fathers are not to be trusted to teach their children about morality and religion. That is best left to secular government workers. Third, mothers who choose to marry good providers pay less in taxes if they choose to stay home with their kids and not work. That is “bad” because the government wants more taxes, so they can spend it on vote-buying social programs. Fourth, children who form stable bonds with their parents are less likely to become dependent on the government, meaning their allegiance cannot be bought with government handouts. That is also “bad”. Fifth, it is also “bad” that children who grow up with stay-at-home mothers are more likely to develop empathy and morality, which gives them an independent standard by which to judge the government’s actions.

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Oklahoma attorney general signals resistance against DOJ transgender decree

Obama speaks to the Human Rights Campaign
Obama speaks to the Human Rights Campaign

President Obama issued a Kingly decree to his subjects that all public schools in the land are to allow men to use women’s bathrooms, showers, change rooms, etc., because it is part of their rigorous public school education, and will prepare them to compete for jobs.

The Weekly Standard reports:

Late Friday afternoon Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt wrote a letter to the Justice and Education officials advising that “if you attempt to enforce this . . . letter on schools in the State of Oklahoma, we will vigorously defend the State’s interests.” Pruitt’s letter sets forth the grounds of defense: That without warrant the administration has redefined “sex” to mean “gender identity”; that it has forced this definition on parents, students, and communities because it has “deemed unjustifiable any discomfort that [transgender students] may express,” thus elevating “the status of transgender students over those who would define their sex based on biology and who would seek to have their definition honored in the most private of places”; and that it compels schools to enforce the new definition of sex “by conditioning receipt of federal funds on compliance” with the letter—”an ultimatum: take it or lose it,” which is not a “real choice” for many schools.

Pruitt concludes by saying that the administration’s actions are unlawful and “represent the most egregious administrative overreach to date. You have taken a public policy issue that must, by our constitutional design, be worked out in the laboratory of democracy and enforced it on all people. And you have done so through a misuse of the spending power.”

State attorneys general in the age of Obama have devised state coalitions to challenge federal overreach. Most notably, 26 states have joined in taking on the president’s executive action on immigration, now before the Supreme Court. Watch for a new coalition to be formed, in the event of actions taken to enforce the guidance letter.

Are you feeling sad? Then read the letter (PDF) from the Oklahoma attorney general.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott defies the tyrant
Texas Governor Greg Abbott defies the tyrant

Meanwhile, the Washington Post reports on Texas’ response to Obama’s Kingly decree:

Texas Lieutenant Gov. Dan Patrick said on May 13 the state will “not yield to blackmail” after the Obama administration announced a directive to public schools to give transgender students access to facilities, including bathrooms that match their chosen gender identity.

[…]Just hours after news outlets reported on the directive, which will be sent to all public schools across the country Friday, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick offered a doomsday outlook.

“This will be the beginning of the end of the public school system as we know it,” he told NBC 5.

Patrick and other top Republicans in America’s largest conservative state, had spent the day listening to Gov. Greg Abbott’s vows to unite with the state of North Carolina as it wages a legal battle with the federal government over the Tar Heel state’s new law requiring people to use the bathroom that aligns with the gender on their birth certificate.

And just this week, Patrick called for the resignation of a Fort Worth schools superintendent after he proposed policies more inclusive of transgender students.

For those of you looking for a good state to move to, Oklahoma and Texas.