PENNING: This year's election really is about choice

Oct 12, 2012

 

But other than considering statements of the obvious, the emphasis on choice has made me think about that word. That’s when the irony hit me: So many candidates and/or elected officials who claim to be “pro-choice” on abortion seem to be working against allowing choice on other issues.

Certain politicians years ago framed the abortion debate as one of “choice.” A woman should be allowed to choose what happens with her own body, the logic goes. At rallies you would see signs that read “My body! My choice!” All of this was to turn attention away from the fact that a human life was at stake. So people against abortion described themselves as “pro-life,” and have bumper stickers and rally signs that say “Choose life!”

But if choice is so important as an operative word, it is interesting to me that our society lately seems to be working to remove choices. Let me run through a few examples.

One has to do with school vouchers. The basic idea here is that, since a portion of taxes people pay go to public schools, parents should get a voucher from the government to send their children to a school of their choosing. So, if they don’t like the local public school, they could use the voucher to send their child to a private school, a charter school or any other school that charges tuition. Parents could use the tax dollars they paid — or the portion “covering” their child’s public education — for another school if they so choose.

But there are many people against school vouchers. This is the first societal hypocrisy — people should have the right choose to end the life of their unborn child, but if the child is born and reaches school age, the same parents can’t choose their school.

But say school isn’t an issue. Say kids are in the public school. Then we have the issue of choosing what to have for lunch. Recently, federal guidelines went into effect mandating what types of food schools serve for lunch. There have been stories of some school employee telling a little girl not to eat the lunch her own mother packed for her.

Late last month, a group of students launched a YouTube campaign to protest the new school lunches. Good for them! They are showing critical thinking and communication skills, not to mention exercising the right to protest abuses of government in a democracy.

But, so far, it still remains that parents can choose to end the life of an unborn child, but they can’t choose what to feed them.

Let’s say that these children survive school food and live to see graduation. Then they want to get a job at a place that has a union. “Right to Work” legislation that has been hotly debated is about whether or not a person should be allowed to decide whether or not to join a union. Many are advocating that employees have no choice but to be part of a union. This is a great way to bolster union membership. But it’s not so great if you say you are in favor of personal choice.

So our society says it should be a right to snuff out the life of an unborn child, but a grown-up child can’t choose whether to be part of a union or not.

The recently passed massive health care legislation includes one controversial aspect called the “insurance mandate” that requires everyone to buy health insurance. There are lots of arguments for and against this. But on the issue of choice, it’s another case in which personal responsibility and choice is being taken away from individuals.

So add to the list of hypocrisies that our modern society endorses the right to terminate “fetuses,” but if they emerge into the world as actual human beings, they don’t have the right to choose whether or not they want to buy health insurance.

The most recent example is specific to New York City, but it could spread. I’m speaking of course about Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s dictate that people in the Big Apple can’t buy big sodas, at least nothing as big as 16 ounces. It’s an effort to battle obesity. Whatever happened to “My body! My choice!”

Apparently, what you imbibe and how much is a government decision in New York. You can get an abortion there, just not a large diet coke.

The real irony is that many of these restrictive policies are advocated by folks who call themselves liberals or progressives. The original political meaning of “liberal” had freedom at is core — it seems the opposite lately. As for progressive, one wonders toward what we progress if we keep making government policies taking away freedom of choice. Perhaps England, before the American Revolution?

One choice we do still have is in the ballot booth. This election really is about choice.

Tim Penning’s columns and other thoughts can be read on his PierPoints blog at pierpoints.blogspot.com.
 

Comments

Vladtheimp

It's a rather dreary evening but opening the paper and reading your column was like a ray of unexpected light - a rational and dispassionate discussion of a word thrown about liberally but without much thought about how it applies to other situations. (Freedom of) Choice - the opposite of a totalitarian approach to governance;(Freedom of) Choice - a perfect word to express the meaning of individual liberty. Thank you for a well thought out and completely current column!

Wingmaster

Wow, is this in the Tribune. I have been wondering to myself if I would ever see an article the I would agree with 100%. I re read it again because it is so amazingly simple to understand for anybody....."people should have the right choose to end the life of their unborn child, but if the child is born and reaches school age, the same parents can’t choose their school." Would be nice to see more articles like this that balance the other views we see so much of in this paper.

Captain Obvious

Yep...people who choose not to buy health insurance have made the choice of having me pay for their health care. They have abdicated their personal responsibility and put the cost on me.

People without insurance go to the hospital emergency room and get treated and then cannot pay. The care at the hospital costs far more than going to a doctor and since people wait until the last moment it is even more expensive. It makes all of us with insurance pay more in health insurance premiums to cover this cost. If you think, big deal my employer pays the cost, think again. What they pay for your premium, you don't get in salary and wages.

I will choose to support the health care mandate, forcing people to take responsibility for their own life and health and quit sticking it to me.

Tri-cities realist

What about the person who CAN afford to pay their doctor and hospital bill and chooses not to buy insurance? (often doctors and hospitals offer discounts to those who pay at the time of service, since the doctor's office doesn't have to fill out insurance paperwork and then wait a month for payment.) Why should this individual be punished with fines for choosing the ultimate level of personal responsibility? And I agree that in the scenario you described, that the rest of us will pay for their use of emergency rooms. However I don't understand how a person who can't afford to pay the emergency room costs, will somehow be able to afford the premiums of health insurance? And if they can't afford insurance, they will be fined under Obamacare for "choosing" not to buy insurance. Does that make any sense? If they really can't afford health insurance, I would think they would qualify for Medicaid. And if we have a problem of too many un-insured, why not modify the Medicaid program, instead of instituting another 2000 plus pages of legislation to address the problem? Or to address your scenario, why not change the law, such that emergency rooms would only be required to treat patients that are in imminent danger (or some other more medically appropriate term.) That would solve your scenario and preserve private insurance as it is today. I realize that some hospitals might choose to treat patients with non life threatening symptoms, for fear of a lawsuit. With the proper tort reform, this additional cost to all of us, could also be avoided. The irony of Obamacare is that most of its supporters decry the insurance companies, yet it will be a boon for the insurance companies, by providing them with something like 30 million new customers. And if we have 45-60 million un-insured, why doesn't Obamacare address the other 15-30 million? Perhaps those are the people who choose to self insure, so I digress. My hunch is that this first phase of Obamacare is set up to make the insurance companies look bad when it doesn't end up getting more people insured. And many small businesses have stated that they will discontinue providing insurance to employees, creating more uninsured. So they can go to the "insurance markets" in each state that chooses to participate in the obamacare program, so in the end they will have to pay more for their health insurance. Brilliant. So obamacare will fail to do what it was supposedly intended. Then what? Then the geniuses will determine that there is too much "greed" in healthcare, so the federal govt will need to step in again to correct a problem they created in the first place. And voila, that is how we will get fully socialized medicine, with the govt dictating the amount, methods, and means of distribution of health care. The insurance companies will still somehow have a part to play, their lobby and influence in congress is too big. They will then just still be a middle man, between the govt and us. Mark my words, and don't say I didn't warn you. Final disclaimer... The current private health insurance system is not perfect, and I'm not in that industry. However, I would rather deal with private health insurance companies, than place my faith in our govt when it comes to health care. Private companies are still ultimately responsible to their customers. If they don't provide acceptable service, another company will, and the bad apple will go out of business. Now if we are not happy with the level of service provided by socialized medicine, what is our recourse. The govt still has us as taxpayers, so what is their incentive to provide good service? But we probably disagree on that.

Vladtheimp

Yeah, I think you are being too paranoid and cynical (NOT). Along the lines you suggested, I think what will really happen is that businesses will be faced with a socialism that they can't refuse - they will pay fines and send their employees to be "insured" by the government. AARP will still make billions by filling the gap between Medicare and Medicare Advantage, which is eliminated under Obamacare. Doctors will stop treating Medicare patients, because Obama has stolen 700+ BILLION from Medicare and redistributed it to Medicaid under Obamacare (no longer a senior benefit - simply a benefit to the poor souls who have been made wards of the state in this economy and those who revel in being such wards). Those who have insured themselves and their families will be competing with leeches and folks who have been gaming the system for decades without contributing a whit - and experience a diminution of their medical care. And, on the bright side, medical care will be dispensed with the same dignity and care as we experience in the Post Office, the IRS, the EPA (for homeowners, energy companies, and small business) and the bureaucrats who laugh at us anyway. Sorry - that is what I see for the future. Our CHOICE will be to subject ourselves to the government health system, or to subject ourselves to the government health system. I've had a good run, starting back when doctors made house calls, to when my doctor in the last decade, on the east coast, got tired of the government demands on his practice and set up a boutique practice where he took no government money, charged an annual fee, and made house calls. Our kids and grand kids will be the beneficiaries of Post Office health care.

Tri-cities realist

Vlad, thanks for adding to the point I was trying to make. As usual, I agree with you. Although I will have to admit, I was hoping that you are younger than your comments lead me to believe. But sadly, there is not a lot of wisdom being displayed by my generation... I'm almost forty. So I will pose a question (or several) that needs no reply, but perhaps some more serious thought on your part. Are you retired? Do you have the time (and willingness) to devote to public office, whether it is local, state, or national? I can understand those not willing to subject themselves to such torture. I myself have contemplated it, and sadly I don't know if I have the abdominal fortitude to withstand today's media and the un-informed populace. This really saddens me, because it shows me that they are winning by silencing any opposition through fear, scare tactics, and apathy. So please think carefully and consider donating a few years to the younger generations by running for office. And if you do, I will promise to do the same before I am 50. Cheers fine patriot.

Vladtheimp

Realist, thanks for you kind words, (except for the suggestion about running for office). One of the crosses I bear, and great failings, is that I don't suffer fools lightly. Putting me on a stage or in a debate would be UUUGLY (trust me). You are many years my junior, most definitely with a better temperament than an aged curmudgeon. If you run for office I will support you in any way I can.

Sorry for the delay - I had not revisited this posting for a while, but ran into the story about Michigan school districts violating the law by disregarding merit pay for teachers and continuing to pay based solely on seniority and credentials, and wanted to be sure to share that fact with the ever entertaining Highlander.

Lanivan

Oh man, you two.....gag me with a spoon...

Vladtheimp

You know, you are a real piece of work. I don't know any of the commenters here, and if someone is complementary, I try to acknowledge the complement. You are apparently so self-absorbed in your own little liberal cocoon world that you can't even understand politeness. So, I will be impolite - there have been some folks who question whether you are male or female - makes no difference - I think you understand gagging. God Bless.

Lanivan

Sheesh....my bad, Vlad!! I apologize for my hasty response to this mutual self-aggrandizement ritual between you and TCR....you don't have to get all huffy and negative!

Lanivan

Tim Penning is stunning in his attempt to pit the constitutional rights women have over their reproductive health choices and ObamaCare (Romneycare). Romney/Ryan want to impose their faith beliefs on the 51% of the US population, attacking, limiting, and controlling the woman's choices and bodies. They want government to control their very soul. Under Romney/Ryan, taking away a women's right to choose, limiting or taking away assess to medical care in addition to support for both the woman and child is simply government control based on a religious belief (or a belief that government can and should impose direct control over women's bodies). ObamaCare(Romneycare) has lots of choices - it's a blend of government/private industry that is based on information from the CBO, medical professionals, the insurance industry, and so on. It is a way of putting the skids on the budget-busting cost of US health care. It is a way for our society to become healthier and more productive. It doesn't force anybody to do anything. It does the opposite - it provides folks with options and choices rather than take them away. The 2-3% who do opt out of the program, fine - you will pay a penalty of something like $1,600/ a year. Under Romney/Ryan, a woman who chooses abortion, and her doctor, could be charged with murder. I have a question for Tim Penning - you have written eloquently about your wife's struggle with cancer (and I extend my best wishes to her for a full recovery). You have told us about her treatments, her doctors, how it has impacted your life. I am assuming you have health insurance that is picking up the tab for your medical needs. But I ask this: now that your wife is considered having a major pre-existing condition, aren't you relieved to know that under ObamaCare, she would not be denied insurance should she ever find herself needing it? What if she were to become pregnant while getting chemo and radiation and her doctors recommend the termination of her pregnancy to save her life? Would you be willing to sit back and allow her to be charged with an illegal act or murder? And heaven forbid, something happens to you, Tim, and your wife finds herself widowed, struggling with medical treatments AND pregnant, financial setbacks, and loss of insurance. Don't think it can't happen, because it happens all the time. It's one thing for us to sit in the comfort of our homes and prattle on about words like "choice", "freedoms", "government", and quite another to live it in the real world. People have more choices than ever before - Romney/Ryan, with their declaration that they would privatize Social Security, voucherize Medicare, defund social net programs for babies up to our seniors - no one untouched, abolish abortion, impose their religious beliefs on the nation, abolish the FDA, EPA, Dept of Education, Pell grants, grants for scientific R & D, and much more, when other countries like China are increasing funding in these areas, is short-sighted and immoral. All this to PAY FOR major tax cuts for the super rich and greater defense spending..

Tri-cities realist

So it took 2000 plus pages of new legislation to eliminate the insurance companies from denying those with pre-existing conditions? To me that is what is "stunning". Why not just address the issues with our current health care system, rather than throwing the baby out with the bath water? Please show me where Romney/Ryan have claimed they will "abolish abortion" Mr. Fact Checker. (other than perhaps by educating women of their alternatives to killing their babies). Lanivan, please think deeply and answer me one question: when does life begin? This is not meant to be a trick question. To me it is a deep question that requires serious thought, since all rights and responsibilities are based on the living. And the funny thing is that R/R want to do the opposite of what you suggest... Impose their views at the national level. They want the federal govt out of the business of forcing people to do certain things. They would rather the states handle it (kind of like Romneycare vs. Obamacare... state vs federal control). And as for Obamacare being budget busting, yes it is, even the CBO agrees, just not in the way you think. "It doesn't force anybody to do anything". Yep, other than impose fines and jail time to those who want no part of it. But what it really boils down to is whether we want the federal govt running our lives. I think we agree that neither of us want that. That is the prism through which I evaluate all federal legislation. Govt has a role of course, I just prefer local control rather than the beauracrats in Washington. And feel free to comment on the points I made below suggesting that Obamacare is just the first step in asserting control over us all.

Lanivan

I understand very well from previous posts how you feel about government and state rights. This works in a few but not most cases, and is an extreme viewpoint when thinking about clean water, clean air, infrastructure, untainted food, health, and general rights we all share as Americans. R/R would do the following as per their many documented public statements: Abolish abortion for any reason; De-fund all federal programs for family planning services and eliminate Title X - a Nixon program that offers birth control, cancer and STD screenings; Declare that life begins at conception and outlaw in-vitro fertilization and certain types of birth control, thus setting the stage for a case of murder for all sorts of medical procedures. All of this intense government intervention against women and their bodies, based on religious beliefs and the belief they know best what 51% of the population can and can't do with their health and bodies and the blatant disregard of the rights, choices, and options available to that 51%. It is a direct challenge to the Constitution. R/R singles out women of all ages and walks of life with a vengance, with special attacks on the most vulnerable among us - the indigent, the disabled, the disadvantaged, "lower information" people. And It won't stop there - not only is this nightmarish in it's lopsidedness (what happens to those men who get these women pregnant in the first place - how do they atone for their sins!).......NOW it's being reported almost every week about some Republican congressman talking about "easy rape", "women can control their bodies to not get pregnant from a rape", and the worst is from Paul Ryan, "rape is just another form of conception". Looks to me like these vile and evil minds would like nothing more than to put women back in the '50's when women died regularly from illegal abortions, had almost no access to birth control, were looked upon as inviting men to rape them, and being stuck with the guilt, societal shame, very little care choices for themselves and their unborn babies, and second-class citizen status should they get pregnant. NOW let's talk about rights, freedoms, liberty, choices, asserting control.

Wingmaster

I was about to jump in and compliment you, Laninvain, on your interesting, rational discussion (from your perspective) with TCR. Then I get to the end of you retort and you go to sensationalizing, and dramatizing to try to make your point. If your facts are good enough, let them stand. This class warfare, fear mongering crap is getting old from the left and people in the middle of this country are getting tired of it. I think you are about to see the results of that on Nov. 7th!

Vladtheimp

What is indefensible about your position regarding what you identify as “general rights we all share as Americans” is that there is no such listing in the Constitution, our supreme law; they are a list you made up, which you can add to, or deduct from, at your whim. What is even more ludicrous is the implication that only representatives at the federal level care about clean water, clean air, infrastructure, untainted food, and health – that the representatives closer to the people at the state level want dirty water, dirty air, no infrastructure, tainted food, and poor health for their constituents and their families, as well as apparently hate women, including their mothers, sisters, wives, and female children. On what authority do you reach that conclusion? It appears that you believe, notwithstanding that the United States is a Constitutional Republic with the federal government having been provided specific powers by the states and the people, there is no limit to what the federal government can forcibly take from the states, and from the people in the form of taxes and liberty, and no limit to what powers the federal government can exercise in order to accomplish what it deems necessary at any given point in time. That is not the political system that we have. On what basis do you conclude that a current President and Congress cannot change policy and undo what a previous President and Congress enacted? Far from a “direct challenge to the constitution,” such changes reflect the representative democracy that we cherish. Paul Ryan did not say that "rape is just another form of conception" – that is the title of a YouTube video showing Ryan in an interview, where he said he was pro life, against abortion, and from that perspective “the method of conception doesn't change the definition of life”. He went on to affirm that Mitt Romney's plan and platform includes several exceptions permitting abortion, including rape. I find it interesting, but consistent with other things you have written, that you so vociferously object to “intense government intervention against women” (as though women, who are a numerical majority in the country can't fend for themselves at the ballot box, even though they that same government has qualified them as a “minority” for all kinds of special treatment) but you have no concerns about, indeed support, intense government intervention against Catholics and other religions that do not support abortion, against the successful (a kind of economic profiling), against whole industries, and against men, who are an actual minority but are discriminated against by being treated as a majority. Women are a minority like Elizabeth Warren is an Indian (she actually received two preferences in hiring). Nonetheless, you have your opinions, and you can voice those opinions by voting for Obama/The Joker. With luck your team will be successful, and the average family, but especially the indigent, disabled, and disadvantaged, will continue to be ravaged by high unemployment, skyrocketing gas prices, and greatly increased food prices, which are the most regressive of this type of “taxation” all for the benefit of Obama's Wall Street supporters, environmental donors and bundlers, and suburban supporters blinded by the need to feel good about themselves. Government will continue to grow and eat away at our freedoms until we run out of money (a decade or so until the house of cards crumbles) and every program that the Progressives love will be eviscerated – unless we monitize the debt and subject everyone to a lifestyle diminished by extreme inflation). President Romney will bring fiscal sanity to the federal bureaucracy and actually permit the continuation of the programs you hold so near and dear. Support continued federal help for the poor, Sister – vote Romney/Ryan!

Lanivan

You say tomatoe, I say tomato. I see a choice between R/R who represent the super rich, corporate power, regressive policies, the return of the Robber Baron years, when there was so social safety net, when industrial developers were free to mine, lumber, pollute and banks were free to create high-risk investments, all without regulation or oversight, AND there was no real middle class - just various levels of impoverishment. I know, because my parents lived through those times. They were Eisenhower moderate Republicans. My father built the first family home with his bare hands just out of the depression years (during which the bank took the family farm), built his own business (with the help of federal grants in the beginning) which thrived, even during an era of much higher corporate taxes than now, and gave us kids a comfortable life, sold his business and retired with a nice nest egg which was largely lost during the Dot.com bubble stock market crash. Despondent, he had a stroke and died a few years later. My mother has lived comfortably on Social Security and Medicare for the last 8 years. I've seen and lived how government can be a positive and good thing and do not share your loathing of it. Obama/Biden would keep the momentum going forward, strengthening reforms across the board (that have introduced by both previous Republican and Democratic administrations) that are balanced, even-handed, and democratic. They would support the middle class and provide a more even playing field. Vlad, Wing, and TCR - your views, while passionately held, are extreme and contradictory, in my humble opinion. I base my beliefs on the experiences of my family and friends going back many years - their achievements, struggles, tragedies, patriotism, spirituality. I have chosen to vote again for Obama because I believe his policies and platform honors them, real people living real life, rather than policies from some Ann Randian fantasy figure or slick hedge fund manager who will beholden to his wealthy investors. I have no compulsion to risk everything that has made America great by voting for this duo. I rest my case.

Vladtheimp

You say tomatoe, I say tomato - fine, we each have that right, and we each have our reasons for believing as we do. Having said that, having tried to discuss the Constitution and rights enshrined therein, representative democracy, the compact between states and the federal government, the fact of enumerated rights, the issue of government taking the side of women, and the impacts the policies of Obama and Progressives have had on the poor, you respond with tales of robber barons, high risk investments, truly touching family stories, and Ayn Rand. This leads me to conclude that you really do believe in unfettered powers for the federal government, and that, for whatever reason, you are able to overlook the real damage Obama's economic policies have done, are doing, and will do to real people in terms of standard of living, gas prices, food prices, so you can support the utopian fantasy of progressive policy. I guess I just can't put blinders on and overlook what has happened over the last 4 years and what a continuation of those policies will mean to the poor and the middle class.

Wingmaster

My family came up hard too Laninvain. They struggled built their own business, closed their businesses, started new ones. One side of the family came here from war torn Europe, with absolutely nothing because they saw the promise of freedom and opportunity. The difference is they did not hold the gov't responsible for the success or failure of their lives. They realized their limits were put on them from their education level and did the best with the talents they had. The promise of opportunity was enough. They did not talk the "rich people" down but talked about how you need to learn from them and repeat their success. They did not want to take from them, what they earned, and give it to others or themselves. They understood success in life is related to hard work, education and respect for others. They saw first hand what happens when gov't control the people and the economy to the extent of devastating results. They saw how in the early stages of such controls how good and prosperous it was. They also saw what happens when the power is corrupted by the gov't in control, as has happened through out the history of the world. They looked at America and saw the promise and opportunity the people have to prosper. It took them lifetimes in a free economy to rebuild from the devastation of overreaching gov't, they did not want to go back, even for the temporary gain in prosperity. They passed on those stories of hardship and what happened during those times so their future generations would not face the same. Gov't in their lives was always greeted with skepticism. They learned the hard way, what happens to the people when they looked the other way and did not speak up against gov't overreach.

Tri-cities realist

Thanks for not answering any of my questions.

Tri-cities realist

I will ask one more time. How much should the "rich" be taxed? 35%, 40%, 50%, 75% ? Why not just tax them 100%, then we can get rid of the nasty evil rich people. But then who will provide the jobs that this country desparately needs? I guess will have to rely on the govt for that too.

Highlander

Research how long it took the US to dig itself out of the stock market crash in '29. 3 years? Nope. What was the tax rate? 25%? 30%? Check it out. And for how long? Did that tax rate keep the rich, from getting ....rich? I don't think the rich were on the endangered species list. They tend to always find a way to get rich, protect what they have, and get richer. I would worry about the rich at all.

Tri-cities realist

So how is the top few percent of taxpayers that pay the majority of federal income taxes, not paying their fair share? The sad truth is that it is the 47% who are not paying their fair share. Do they not benefit from the things that the payers provide? A simple thank you, rather than calling for higher taxes would suffice. Instead of punishing the haves, why not try to get the have-nots to be haves? (and I don't mean through more redistribution of wealth). Go out and earn it like the rest of us. We live in the country with the greatest level of opportunity, some choose not to pursue it, which saddens me. Or aren't there any more rags to riches stories in the US anymore? There are, but you have to look harder to find them because a lot of us have an entitlement mentality. And at the current rate of federal spending, if you tax the rich at 100%, you could fund the govt for something like 98 days, not very sustainable. We don't have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem.

Highlander

Over the years, Mr. Penning has had shown he's anti-teacher, whining about pay. He loves to talk, yet would never listen anyway out of his arrogance. He's got all the answers.

1. Let's just say Vouchers are allowed. Do you want your tax dollars in the form of a voucher to follow little Jimmy to a German Language and Culture school, which is a front for White Supremacists? They already exist, BTW. Will voucher money "support them"? Or $ following little Mikey to another controversial "academy"?
2. My bet is that Mr. Penning, since he is so concerned with equality", that he'll never write an article explaining the effects of poverty in American education;how about students who are surrounded by community issues like violence, hunger, absent/inaffective parents, fear, etc struggle to learn and how NCLB's data supports this?. How about children raising siblings? Is the playing field level when comparing the kids in the Tricities, Flint and Detroit. Is the playing field level when comparing a family of 4 earning $25K a year vs. a family in Crystal Bay Woods who bring in $500K-$million +? Vouchers would fix that, just as Charters didn't. To say that Charters or Vouchers will fix anything is a sophomoric argument. Reduce the effects of poverty, which will raise the bottom 15-25% and the US is in the top 5-10 in the world. We have a choice to reduce the effects of poverty, yet the Bush and Obama administrations add more "accountability" under the guise of testing.
3. Regarding women's health: if this were about a male's right to get condoms, Viagra, or some other issue, the law would be a non-issue, and buried forever. Male politicians dictating what a woman can or cannot do is hypocritical; a bunch of smelly old viagra-popping male lawyers/politicians/judges (with a mistress on the side) dictating women's health. Brilliant.
4. I'm sure Mr. Penning survived school lunches. When was the last time he ate a school lunch in GH, SL or another school. When was the last time he spent time in a classroom? (sorry-adjunct professing just isn't the same) He'd be suprised at the quality.
5.Choice? Life's full of choices- Public or Pvt. Traditional or Parochial. Charter or home school.. Yet, In GH, I cannot select specific cable channels for which I'd prefer to watch (yet I still have to pay for QVC1, QVC2, HSN5.7, an ESPN 1 through 9- even though I don't watch them) I cannot select a different gas, electric, or water distributor. Foul! My children can take classes in GH that aren't offered in SLPS. Foul! Forest Hills and Rockford have Crew teams, GH and SL don't. Foul! How about allowing teachers the choice to move from one district to another in search of higher pay, more respect, better conditions/programs, just like in other professions, without having to start again at the bottom of the salary scale after the move? (kind of like free agency in baseball) Foul? Wait! That might create a salary race. Scratch that. No soup for you! Many never use some public services, yet our taxes pay for them for the good of society.
6. Hypocracy. Pro-life, yet pro-capital punishment. Pro-life, yet cut ADC. Eliminate safety nets for the poor and middle class (while we continue to allow welfare for the industries that caused the Economic Crisis-banks, corporations, etc and hide behind the "it's notmy responsibility to create jobs!" convenience). We have Pro-life, yet anti-assistance. Anti-abortion, yet refusing to recognize allowing birth control cheaply, or freely to people who "choose" would reduce the need for most abortions, STDs, reduce poverty, etc.. Hypocracy in that certain politicians riding the platform of Anti-abortion/Pro-Life, yet it was OK for a wife or daughter to get an abortion. And since abortion and vouchers were tied together via "choice", let's offer moving vouchers to poor families from Flint and Detroit, allowing them to move to where they want to live so that their child can attend GH. (STOP! Can't have that!) We made cigarette illegal to those under 18 because tobacco kills. Now reducing the effects of a 96 oz Big Gulp, which is partly responsible for the obesity epidemic is some how wrong?

Wingmaster

Nice ponification of every liberal talking point you could think of. I'm impressed and congratulate you on a wonderful memory. Now go enjoy the Ed show as you seem to have his schtick down pretty well.

Vladtheimp

Way too much false information to reply to in one sitting. To narrow it down to a digestible level: 1. Have you ever been a school teacher? 2. If so, in an inner city school (Title I) (and ate with the kids in a room instead of a cafeteria, with no gym but an asphalt lot surrounded by a chain-link fence); 3. If not - shut up (I have); (4) if so, did you subject your kids to the racism of low expectations because you believed their circumstances prohibited them from achievement? (5) if so, shame on you, (6) if not, why are you proselytizing for those diminished expectations now? (7) Teachers have no portability? and when did one school system have to match the pay scale of another system, even if intra-state? Experience doesn't count - every teacher who moves to a different system has to start at the salary of a teacher freshly out of teacher school?; I'm getting tired, so I'll ask you this:

" As the teacher force has grown by almost 50% over the past four decades, average salaries for teachers (adjusted for inflation) have grown only 11%, the Department of Education reports. Imagine what kinds of teachers we might be able to recruit if those figures had been flipped and we were offering 50% more pay without having significantly changed student-teacher ratios. Having better-paid but fewer teachers could also save us an enormous amount on pension and health benefits, which have risen far more than salaries in cost per teacher over the past four decades."

I'll be interested to hear what experience you have, in the inner city, as a teacher, and why you are so down on our local school system(s). Please be specific caused this unintelligible hostility. God Bless!

Highlander

If this weren't some meaningless message board, I might entertain you with more thought. Other things to do.
1. 4th generation teacher, (2)M.Ed. , I have taught 8-12, and in college. 2. I attended inner city. I have taught in inner city. 3. ;) 4. Nope. High expectations. Sorry, but Charters and Vouchers are a shell game. it ignores causes of poverty and it's effects on education No data shows notable "innovation" or major improvments with Charters or Vouchers. 5. Shame? for what? My perspective? If so, shame on you. 6..I maintain high expectations. I teach with them everyday. Assuming that I have low expectations makes an "ass"u, aw...forget it, 7. Do the research Mr. Penning(?). If a teacher leaves GHPS in search of a better opportunity that teacher will start over at or near the bottom of the pay matrix (unless you're a great football coach). Fact. I have professional friends who have moved for raises. Fact. 8. If the teacher population has grown by 50% over 40years, how has the US grown by population? How about this thing called the Baby Boom? As for population, in 1970, the US had 203 million. in 2012, 315million. In 50% of teachers quit within 5 years. another % quits within 7 years. Check the figures.. 9. Better respect for the profession, better trained, higher paid teachers, mobility, better training, leaders who are experts in education, rather than profiteers will attract top people who might be able to teach. 10. I'm not down on the school system at all. I celebrate teachers and students. You may want to reread that segment. I stated that the main issue with education is......the effects of poverty. Fewer teachers and larger class sizes is not the answer, if that's what you're saying at the end of your post. There is a lot of data that support 17 to 1 up to 23-1 in elementary levels. Larger class rooms in SOME curricular areas can work, depending on teacher talent subject area.

Lastly, 11%. teachers in the 60's were teaching, driving the bus, serving the slop (lunch). As the profession became more professionalized, pay increased. With that, more were attracted to the profession. We can discuss that if you'd like.

Vladtheimp

."If a teacher leaves GHPS in search of a better opportunity that teacher will start over at or near the bottom of the pay matrix (unless you're a great football coach). Fact. I have professional friends who have moved for raises." That doesn't seem to follow unless the friends are not in the teaching profession. Otherwise, I re-read your post, as you suggested, and concluded that you are so brimming with anger and righteous indignation because we, as a society, are not tied to redistribution of everything and equality of outcomes, So go vote for the Socialist in Chief and maybe you will get what you want. As far as having some of the denizens of Flint and Detroit moving to Grand Haven, I suggest that you can adopt one family and have them move in with you. As far as moving at the taxpayer's expense I guess you have never heard of Section 8. It appears you have spent a great deal of time in education - may I suggest one additional course - Anger Management 101?

Highlander

;) Here's a smilie for you.

The NFL has profit sharing, BTW. socialist? The Packers love it. The military? Any public service?
Regarding my illustration for vouchers to move. The poor can't afford to move, or truck their kids acrossed town to another school- even with a voucher. So if we create a voucher following people to a school of choice,( like Cranbrook?), shouldn't do the same for choices to live? (i'll point out the sarcasm next time.)

oh yeah. ;)

Vladtheimp

I smile when I realize that you don't recognize the difference between private organizations deciding to share profits for the benefit of all and the government mandating redistribution. One is good business, one is socialism. There is no reason why transportation costs can't be included in a voucher program. There is a huge difference between creating a voucher system to enable parents to choose to send their children to schools other than failing public schools (since school attendance is legally mandatory) and a voucher system (in addition to Section 8 housing) to send poor people to wealthy neighborhoods; the government has not yet mandated where we have to live.. In fact, the government already tried that indirectly under the Community Reinvestment Act, and the results, shall we say, were less than outstanding (collapse of the housing market). You may comment on what you consider sarcasm as you wish, of course; I was merely attempting to deflect what appeared to be an unhealthy meltdown. God Bless.

Vladtheimp

Some 80 percent of Michigan school districts still compensate teachers based on seniority and credentials alone, even though state law mandates significant consideration of classroom performance.

Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2012/10/1...

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