Posts Tagged ‘ObamaCare’

We See Through Your Pre-K Sham, Uncle Sam

We See Through Your Pre-K Sham, Uncle Sam

President Obama’s Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, otherwise known as the education czar, is canvassing the South to take stock of how federal education programs and initiatives are faring in several states. Among Duncan’s visits was a stop at Chattanooga, Tennessee’s Chambliss Center for Children, where he encouraged Gov. Bill Haslam to continue embracing Obama’s education agenda with the same enthusiasm that Haslam exhibited with the President’s “Race to the Top” program.

It seems that Duncan believes Haslam has drank the Obama education reform kool-aide and is ready for another glass. This time, Duncan hopes that Tennessee will compete for a portion of the $250 million in federal Pre-K grants available for select states. As TN Report’s Alex Harris explains, “The feds are holding [these] out as an incentive to encourage states to sign more kids up for early education programs.” Translation: The feds are bribing state governments with taxpayer dollars to push Obama’s agenda.

As with many other agenda’s the President deploys, this Pre-K scheme is both costly and ineffective. Here are the facts:

  • Vanderbilt University evaluated 1,000 Pre-K students across the state and found that the slight benefits these students had in math and language over peers not enrolled in Pre-K barely lasted past kindergarten and were completely gone by 2nd grade.
  • According to findings published in the Journal Science, the highest-rated publicly funded Pre-K classrooms’ results are no better than lower-rated classrooms.
  • Yet, Tennessee spent over $85 million on Pre-K in 2013, and the feds want us taxpayers to pony up even more.

Perhaps Duncan missed our Dr. Seuss-inspired poligraphic, “Pre-K Sham, Uncle Sam” in January.

In any event, we hope he enjoys his time in the South, but suggest Duncan keeps his Washington-grown “solutions” where they belong. Between Obamacare that isn’t, and the so-called stimulus package that wasn’t, Tennessee will be seeking solutions elsewhere.

-Lindsay Boyd

September 15th, 2014 | Beacon Blog, Feature, Recent News

Teachers Can Send Message to Unions

Teachers Can Send Message to Unions

Check out the letter to the editor written by Beacon CEO Justin Owen and J.C. Bowman from the Knoxville News Sentinel.

One of the biggest draws for businesses to relocate to and grow in Tennessee is our right-to-work environment. Unlike in many states, Tennesseans cannot be forced to join a union and pay dues in order to keep their jobs.

That’s why it is important to celebrate National Employee Freedom Week, which runs through Saturday. This week serves as a reminder that employees should be free to join — or withdraw from — a union. In fact, more than 80 percent of Tennesseans believe in employees’ freedom to join or leave a union when they see fit.

Here in Tennessee, the state teachers’ union has advocated for a state income tax, a measure that, if enacted, would have substantially raised its own members’ tax bills. Its national outfit — the National Education Association — has endorsed a complete government-takeover of health care. Whatever one’s position on these issues, what do income taxes and Obamacare have to do with representing teachers?

Tennessee’s teachers should take the time to review their dues deduction authorization. The teachers’ unions continue to make the process of opting out difficult and complicated. We believe opting out should be simple and transparent.

Teachers can use this week as the perfect time to send the message that unions should work to protect their members, not advance a radical, left-wing political agenda out of step with mainstream Tennesseans.

Justin Owen, president and CEO, Beacon Center of Tennessee, and J.C. Bowman, executive director of Professional Educators of Tennessee, Nashville

August 12th, 2014 | Feature, Recent News

“Crisis” Communication

“Crisis” Communication

I recently heard a talk radio interview with a D.C.-based operative. This operative is usually on the right side of issues, but something struck me during the interview. The discussion revolved around the “transportation crisis” hitting our nation’s capital. Another crisis?! Shocker.

There are certainly pressing matters to address—our debt is at an all time high, and we have done nothing to quell limitless spending; Obamacare is ravaging our economy and driving a wedge between doctors and patients; and we are embroiled in several real predicaments at home and abroad. But the current “crises” often discussed by cable TV talking heads and Beltway elites are nothing but manufactured storms of political convenience.

Take the numerous debt ceiling discussions that have taken place over the past couple of years. There have been so many shutdown showdowns that I don’t even care to go back and count the number. Politicians would draw a line in the sand, hold a months-long stare off on their respective sides of the line, then wipe away the line with their feet and move along, no substantive change resulting from their charade.

While the lack of adequate transportation funding is indeed a real issue, of course it’s not a shortage of revenue that plights us, it’s the squandering of existing funding on unnecessary projects. It’s been a problem coming for a long time, with few caring to even give it a passing glance. Yet, D.C. politicians and the hucksters who sell their crises-in-a-bottle are trying to convince us that this new ordeal is the most important issue of our time. Just like the last crisis and the one before it.

We don’t need to send politicians to Washington to fix our crises. We need statesmen who won’t create them in the first place. The best time to start a family budget is not after filing for bankruptcy, nor is it prudent to buy car insurance after you have a fender bender. We need to roll up our sleeves and fix the problems plaguing our nation’s long-term survival, not become distracted by the manufactured crisis de jour.

-Justin Owen

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August 6th, 2014 | Beacon Blog, Feature, Recent News

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