The Pulitzer committee does the right thing

Like Ilsa and Rick in “Casablanca,” the English Department will always have Paris, even when the rest of the world has moved on. Said here, it is fairly astonishing that committees of businessmen like the committee for the Eisenhower memorial will go every time for the Frank Gehry design: images of things blowing up, sinking and falling down.

But for the rest of us, history turned on that blissful and heroic moment in “Casablanca” when Victor Laszio walked into Rick’s Café Americain — in center of the world in 1943 — faced the darkness head on and demanded that the band play the Marseillaise.


Education and infrastructure: Rebuilding America

With the economy on a shaky road to recovery, it has become clear that the Great Recession triggered a fundamental change in the way Americans are forced to operate in the globalized economy. Everyone is feeling the strains. The archetype of the “company man” is fast going extinct, schools and other public services are facing record budget cuts, our infrastructure is antiquated and deteriorating every day, and access to global labor markets has created a flat line in wage increases for the poorest Americans.
But it’s not all gloom and doom. America has long been the global destination for the planet’s most daring and innovative minds, and globalization has only fueled our ability to tap into the global intellectual fountain. Think of the recent slump as growing pains. With the sheer amount of change in the last generation, it is inevitable that there will need to be an adjustment period where we as a nation reinvent how we operate our economy and start to implement long-term solutions that will ensure a 21st century of unimaginable progress for all Americans.


Morality and education

President Madison once opined that if you educate a man without teaching him morals, you create a menace to society.

With education you give people the tools to have tremendous effects on their environment. If that power is not tempered by morality, the changes that are wrought are not likely to be beneficial.


Education equality and choice: Creating a positive future

Last week was a big week for people who care about education reform. National School Choice Week stormed the nation with more than 400 events across all 50 states. More than half the nation’s governors issued proclamations supporting the week. The week shone a light on school choice in all its forms and got people talking about educational options for our children.
The good news is that school choice continues to advance across the nation. Only if this progress continues to build will our nation’s future be secure.


An argument for two-parent households

Society benefits because a strong marriage produces children who generally become productive members of society. The advantages of a strong marriage and two-parent household are literally limitless, and sadly the disadvantages of divorce and single-parent households are just as limitless.
Single-parent households hurt the adults, children and society. The adults must work more hours to recoup lost income. One parent is expected to handle most, if not all, of the parenting. Each adult often feels alone, lost, depressed and confused after losing his or her spouse.


Silly government, parenting is for parents

There has been ample debate lately about who is really committed to making our children healthier. The argument goes something like this: If food manufacturers were seriously concerned about children’s health, they would make parents’ jobs easier by getting rid of the cartoonish characters they’ve used since the 1950s to market their products. They would also stop running television advertisements on programs ranging from “Dora” to “American Idol,” stop sponsoring sporting events and children’s charities and neglect to advertise the market-driven nutritional improvements they’ve made to their products.


Helping military families with DonorsChoose

I'm a big fan of, helping teachers get the job done. A teacher can post a project there, and anyone can help out by giving a few dollars until the project gets funded. A project could be as simple as getting enough pens and paper to last the school year, which is a real problem in many schools. There're a lot of underfunded school districts out there, and it's really unfair for teachers to fund stuff from their own (inadequate) salaries.


Fear of math and science

We can all agree that many children these days prefer not to study very much. I’m not sure if it’s because they are so busy with other things, or that they have been handed so much that the idea of hard work is foreign to them.

Whatever the reason, it’s obvious to parents and teachers across America that kids aren’t putting in the effort to excel in math and science. One explanation may be because math and science generally demand specific solutions, meaning either a right or wrong answer, so for a lot of kids who are scared to fail, or sadly even scared to try, math and science are just pushed away at all costs.


White House committed to failing schools … and the NEA

In case there were any doubt, the White House is still committed to failing schools — oh, and the NEA.

The House of Representatives is expected to vote today — and pass — H.R. 471, the SOAR Act, or reauthorization of the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship (DCOS) program. Like clockwork, the White House released a statement in anticipation of the vote asserting it “strongly opposes” bringing back the program or expanding it to new students.

They were quite clear, in fact: “Private school vouchers are not an effective way to improve student achievement.”

Not so long ago the DCOS program helped more than 3,000 low-income students escape one of the most expensive and ineffectual school districts in the nation. Students lucky enough to participate in the program had an opportunity to seek out alternative educational opportunities that produced real results.


D.C. scholarships

I was driving into work this morning, listening to Tim Farley’s always-excellent morning show on the POTUS channel of XM/Sirius radio as he interviewed D.C.’s delegate to Congress, Eleanor Holmes Norton (D).

Eleanor lives in my neighborhood on Capitol Hill, and when you meet her in person, she can be rather pleasant.

But politically, she is a disaster. For example, she helped to deliver us Vincent Gray, the current joke of a mayor in the nation’s capital.

Norton — or Eleanor, as she is known by her campaign signs — likes to believe that D.C. is her own private domain that she can rule as she likes. She likes to think that, despite not having a formal vote on the floor of the House of Representatives and no real power in Congress, other than the power to shoot off her mouth, which she does with great skill.