Friday, February 18, 2011
It has been a rough few months for British Prime Minister David Cameron. As if keeping the first coalition government in forty years united wasn’t hard enough, Cameron recently lost his Communications Director Andy Coulson amid scandalous allegations that he was involved in cell phone hacking while working at News of the World. Although the student protests of the Fall have subsided and Conservative Party Headquarters is no longer under siege from thousands of tuition fee crusaders, the effects of the deep austerity measures implemented by the government have begun to drag Cameron’s Conservatives down in the opinion polls. A Com Res poll issued on February 9th shows the Conservatives now trail the Labour Party by seven percentage points.
Less than a year ago the Conservatives won a plurality of seats in the House of Commons, besting Labour by over five percentage points. So what happened? Cameron’s “full, comprehensive” offer to the Liberal Democrats to join in an official governing coalition was met with concern from party faithful and the spending cuts promised in the Conservative Manifesto have proven tough for the nation to swallow. Several British commentators are already speculating that this is just the beginning of an even bigger slide in the polls for Cameron and one that will result in the Labour Party reclaiming their majority in the Commons.
Read the rest of this piece here
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Earlier this week President Obama delivered his State of the Union address and issued a clarion call for sweeping education reform. Giving an honest assessment of the challenge facing the United States of America, President Obama stated that public education simply isn’t making the grade and as a nation we cannot afford to allow our population to fall behind our economic rivals in a world increasingly dominated by technological innovation.
Currently bad teachers are protected by the same system the stops our most effective teachers from earning superior wages than their less competent colleagues. The feedback loop created by handicapping stops the most talented from even considering going into education. Union involvement in teaching contracts is ultimately costing more than the lost wages for our educators — at the heart of this issue are the millions of students across the country who will not have the skills to compete as well as provide the innovation desperately needed to drive our economy.
The full article can be viewed here
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Late last month I accepted a position as a 2011 Teach for America Corps Member teaching middle or high school Biology in Memphis, TN. I really cannot believe I now know what I am doing for the next two years, but I am excited to learn a new city and get to work with my students.
Friday, February 4, 2011
The recent overthrow of the Tunisian government and the protests currently raging across Egypt are both motivated by calls for increased democratic participation by the citizens of those nations. The outpouring of support for the protesters and their push for open, democratic elections invite reflection on the United States’ own battle for a popularly oriented government. A closer look at the United States Constitution reveals not a wholehearted endorsement of democracy but a group of Founding Fathers with a deep mistrust of completely democratic institutions. Specifically, the composition of the Supreme Court, the Senate, and the Electoral College demonstrates the belief that government should be popularly oriented but not simply a rubber stamp for the fleeting will of the majority. Instead the Constitution established a system designed to, in the words of James Madison, “refine and enlarge” the popular conception of the common good.
Arguably the most aristocratic American institution, the Supreme Court consists of entirely unelected officials who serve life terms with the ability (since Marbury v. Madison) to deem acts of the Congress unconstitutional. A check on the ability of even an overwhelming majority to pass legislation that violates the underlying governing principles, the Court also slows the legislative process requiring a constitutional amendment to overcome a negative decision.
For the complete article please visit The Politicizer here