Education reform

50 Years Since Lyndon B. Johnson’s Passing: His Heritage Is Immense!

It has been a half century since the passing of President Lyndon B. Johnson on January 22, 1973.

This giant of a man and a President had massive impact on the American people and their history.

LBJ brought about the greatest social and economic reform of any President except Franklin D. Roosevelt, and many might say that his impact in some ways was greater than that of FDR.

When one considers his impact on civil rights, education, health care, and the issue of urban and rural poverty, it is clear that LBJ transformed the American psyche on these matters.

The battles he fought and overcame against Southern Democrats have now, sadly, been transformed into struggles against most Republicans, who have become the new white supremacists and are out to promote the same narrow minded “states rights” arguments to erase advancements on race, women’s rights, and gay rights, in an attempt to bring America back to the mentality of the 19th century.

Had LBJ only had to deal with domestic issues, he would be ranked in the top five of all Presidents, but sadly, his insistence on continuing and expanding the war in Vietnam caused a massive split that started the attack against American liberalism and progressivism, which he and FDR had so championed from the 1930s through the 1960s.

So his ranking is lower, although with time, it has recovered so that he is considered in the top quarter of Presidents, generally ranking as about number 10 or 11 of all the 45 Presidents we have had.

CoronaVirus Pandemic Proves Need For An Empathetic President, And Another “New Deal” And “Great Society” In Future!

The present CoronaVirus Pandemic proves the need for an Empathetic President, and another “New Deal” And “Great Society” in the future!

“Big” Government is needed, as it was in the 1930s “New Deal” and the 1960s “Great Society”!

We need leaders such as Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon B. Johnson, as with all their foibles, as all human beings have, they demonstrated empathy and understood the need for federal government action!

Yes, state governors, such as Andrew Cuomo, Gavin Newsom, and many others, have stepped up in this present crisis, but the lack of concern and competency of Donald Trump and his advisers, only concerned about politics rather than human lives, needs to be repudiated once and for all!

Conservatism and limitation of national government since the time of Ronald Reagan and Newt Gingrich and many others has led to this debacle, and now needs to be in their death throes, as they have caused this debacle!

We need a nation where we do not have a few people having as much wealth and assets as half of the nation!

We need a nation where everyone is entitled to decent, affordable health care, and the opportunity for an education that meets their needs and abilities!

We need a nation where we do not have a wide percentage of people who are homeless, or are unable to gain enough nutrition, and where racism, nativism, and misogyny are actively prosecuted, rather than becoming government policy!

We need the kind of nation where everyone has opportunity to move forward, as was the aim and policies of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon B. Johnson!

Jeb Bush and Rob Portman Are Lost Causes! Where Is John Kasich As The Alternative For The Mainstream Conservative Republicans?

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush says, if he runs for President, that he will NOT kiss the ring of the extreme Right Wing of the Republican Party!

Well, Jeb, forget it then, as you will never win the GOP nomination, being that you are part of the so called “Establishment”! The Tea Party Right Wing extremists will fight you tooth and nail to prevent you being the GOP Presidential nominee!

Being more sympathetic to immigration reform will hurt Bush, as well as support for “Common Core” education, and just being a Bush will hurt as well!

Meanwhile, one of the most viable GOP potential nominees, Senator Rob Portman of Ohio, has decided not to seek the Presidency in 2016, and instead run for reelection.

Portman would have had trouble anyway, being George W. Bush’s Budget Director as the deficit swelled; and also for the fact that he has come out for gay marriage, after his son revealed himself to be gay, making Portman one of only four Republican Senators to endorse gay marriage so far! But being from Ohio and being NOT a looney candidate, as so many potential Republicans are, he would have been a far better choice for President than many of them!

So we have lost two potential mainstream conservatives to the race for President–Bush, by his statements that he will not cater to the extremists; and Portman, for showing his belief that it would be unlikely he could win the nomination, and desirous, instead, of keeping his Senate seat!

So again, the question is: Is Governor John Kasich of Ohio ready to take the plunge, and give respectability to the GOP battle for the Presidency?

Zack Kopplin, The Hope For The Future Of Science In The Battle Against Creationism!

Zack Kopplin is a 19 year old History major at Rice University in Houston, who has become famous in his fight against the state of Louisiana, which passed a law on science education in 2011, which promoted the religious “creationist” theory of man’s evolution and development. The fact that Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal would sign such a law says legions about his potential candidacy for President in the future! What kind of intelligent political leader would have the gall to go along with such propaganda, which has no basis?

Kopplin has appeared on many shows, and challenged Congresswoman Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, proving that her statement that Nobel Prize scientists believed in creationism as legitimate, had no basis! He also challenged Rick Santorum on this controversy. His effect on this issue led to Jon Huntsman speaking up on the topic in support of what Kopplin has enunciated, during the Republican primary race for President in 2012.

Kopplin has won awards and endorsements for his fight to bring about the proper study of science in Louisiana and nationally, and has emphasized the importance of the separation of church and state. He has become a hero for those who believe in fighting the role of religion in educational policy, including the religiously based charter schools which have promoted creationism as science.

This is a young man who gives us hope that the ” Know Nothings” that permeate many state governments in many southern and Midwestern states will not be permitted to distort the field of science, and thus to put America behind in the international race for progress and forward thinking in the 21st century!

Bipartisanship Of The Past: Why Not Now?

When one looks at American history in previous recent decades, one sees so much evidence of bipartisanship between Republicans and Democrats, and one wonders why that is not possible now in the interests of the nation!

Witness the following examples:

1962–John F. Kennedy calls upon Dwight D. Eisenhower for help and counsel during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

1963–Lyndon B. Johnson becomes President after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and calls upon Dwight D. Eisenhower for advice in a moment of crisis.

1964–President Lyndon B. Johnson calls upon Senate Minority Leader Everett Dirksen of Illinois to help push through the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

1983—President Ronald Reagan and Democratic Speaker of the House Thomas “Tip” O’Neill work together on Social Security reform and get it passed.

1990s—Democratic Senator Sam Nunn of Georgia works with Republican Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana on arms control legislation, lessening the dangers of nuclear war after the end of the Cold War.

2000s—Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona works with Democratic Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin on passage of campaign finance reform legislation.

2001—Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts works with President George W. Bush on education reform.

Instead of publicly calling for the move to make Barack Obama a one term President, as Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky enunciated in 2009, or Speaker of the House John Boehner to use foul language against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and to say he refuses to have any more private meetings with President Barack Obama, what we need is mutual respect, and willingness to cooperate!

And this includes the idea that both Republicans and Democrats need to “cross the aisle”, and stop vilifying each other as the “devil”, as this prevents doing what is good for the American people!

The country is sick of the partisan wrangling and the lack of respect and dignity displayed, and is calling for Congress to act like adults and to work cooperatively with the President, who always has an open minded attitude toward discussion and compromise within reason!

Infrastructure, Innovation And Education: The ONLY Way To Economic Recovery!

It is clear that the ONLY way to economic recovery is promoting infrastructure, innovation and education as the goals for our future!

It is estimated that $2.2 trillion in investments is needed in infrastructure in rebuilding of our rail systems, roads, highways, bridges and river systems over the next ten years, and this can be done by bond issues that will repay the costs over 30-50 years, with only a small investment of billions of dollars to get it started. Our national security and economic future demand such an investment!

At the same time, innovation in energy is essential for our future as well, so that we can wean ourselves off of oil, which has led us to military involvement in the Middle and Near East to preserve oil supplies. Solar and wind energy have to be part of our long term future, and we need to have imagination and vision if we are to have a prosperous and secure future!

Finally, education is essential on a much wider scale, providing opportunity for advancement in all fields of knowledge, and allowing college students the ability to have a future not burdened by excessive debts that prevent investment in homes, automobiles and other economic needs. So the move for cancelling the debt by having the government pay it, much like they did for banks and corporations and insurance companies, would be a great boost to the long term economy and cause an immediate economic revival!

Without vision in these three areas, no matter which party controls the White House and Congress, there will be no advancement of economic growth and national security for the short run and the long run!

Barack Obama: Calm, Cool, Steady Manager Of Crisis

The American people are very fortunate to have Barack Obama as their President in these times!

Not only his reaction to the Great Recession with the effort to revive industry and banking, and his attempt to aid the state governments in difficult times; not only with his concern about national health care for all; not only with his emphasis on education reform to help America return to educational greatness; not only his emphasis on restoring American prestige in the world scene by promotion of diplomacy; but also because he has proved to be a calm, cool, steady manager of crisis, as proved when he saved the ship seized by Somali pirates in April 2009, and more dramatically, the accomplishment of the killing of Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden this past Sunday!

The opposition Republicans have long promoted the myth that only they can defend the nation from terrorism and preserve our national security. But as it turns out, that is far from true in the past, and is certainly now destroyed as a myth as a result of the flawless military operation conducted on Sunday in Pakistan!

Barack Obama’s historical reputation has been improved dramatically by this great moment in our history! It will be one of the first sentences in his biography, certainly in the first paragraph when history is written in the future!

This is a moment for all patriotic and fair minded Americans to salute President Barack Obama as a man of courage, principle, and dignity! Thank God Barack Obama is our President!

Lamar Alexander And Three Year College Degrees

Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander, former Education Secretary under George HW Bush, has written an article in Newsweek Magazine, advocating the promotion of a three year college degree as a way to encourage savings for college students, and also as a method to advance careers for students more quickly.

Of course, this is only good for that small sliver of students who are mature enough, motivated enough, and intelligent enough to be able to work harder than most do today who attend college.

Since so many students need to work to stay in college, and since so many, at the same time, want the “full” college experience of social life and development of “relationships”, this will not work for the vast majority of college students. The fact is, right now, only five percent of students manage by working, at an accelerated pace, to finish in three academic years.

So this proposal might work for the top graduates of high schools across the country, who are accepted at top private and public universities, and are mature enough to be willing to sacrifice and work to finish and move on to graduate degrees or the world of work. But again, it will not work for the vast majority of college students who, not only need four years to finish, but in most cases need six or more years to complete their undergraduate education.

So, Senator Alexander, I give you credit for motivating the very best students among high school graduates, but your idea will never be realistic for more than ninety percent of college students, sorry to say!

A Promising Development On Education Reform

In the midst of so much controversy over health care reform, it is wonderful to report that Education Secretary Arne Duncan is gaining the support of former Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and the African American preacher Al Sharpton, who tend to agree on nothing else, to work with Duncan to promote education reform, one of the major aims of the Obama Administration.

The three men will visit Philadelphia, New Orleans and Baltimore in the fall to push those cities to work to improve failing schools as a first step toward widespread education reform nationally.

It is good to see cooperation on such an important issue as this one, and one could wistfully wish that Newt Gingrich would have the same attitude on health care reform, but alas, that is not the case! 🙁

However, I guess we should be happy with small miracles! 🙂