I had the pleasure tonight of meeting Jack Stratton, Libertarian candidate for Mecklenburg County Commissioner, at the Meck Co. LP meeting. He has gained a lot of notice around Charlotte ever since the Department of Social Services removed his ten children from his and his wife’s home. Not only were the charges against them bogus, one of their children was sexually abused while in the custody of DSS–and now they’re refusing to let him go home even though he’s now over the age of 18. Go to Jack Stratton’s website and read up on the whole situation. He has, verbatim, judge’s comments, grand jury reports, court transcripts, more than enough documentation to convince a skeptic. This is not a child abuser trying to escape justice, and this is not a nutball conspiracy theorist. This is a man whose children have been stolen and abused by the government, and he needs all the support people can give them. Go get ’em, Jack!
I’ve written a new issue paper on my Issues page concerning Impact Fees. After speaking with several members of the Lincoln County Home Builders Association, I’ve come to the conclusion that the best thing to do about impact fees is to get rid of them entirely. My new article explains why.
Look over to the left and you’ll notice a new item there, "Register to Vote in NC." Clicking this will take you straight to the voter registration page for North Carolina at Congress.org. If you aren’t registered to vote, do so! And remember–you can register Libertarian as well. We’ve done a lot of hard work to give you that option. Just type "Libertarian" in the "Choice of Party" line. (Entering anything other than Democrat, Republican, or Libertarian will result in you being listed as Unaffiliated–also a viable option.) You have until October 8 to register to vote in the November 2 election. So go, register! And vote, too! You do have real options, and your vote does matter!
Some people have taken me to task for saying that school choice initiatives would help benefit our county schools as well as those who take their children elsewhere. They claim that school choice makes the government schools suffer and harms the children who stay there, and the only ones who benefit are the ones who end up going to private school. Well, a new study, reported in the San Diego Union-Tribune, demonstrates the benefits of school choice on those who remain in the government schools. Some highlights:
The fact that choice benefits public schools–not just students who switch to private schools–is a key aspect of school choice. Because public schools improve due to competition, school choice benefits reach beyond those students who take advantage of the opportunity to attend a private school with a voucher or tax credit scholarship. Because competition forces both public and private schools to improve, choice is like a rising tide that lifts all boats. Even students whose parents don’t shop around for a private school will benefit because their existing public schools will get better.
It’s true that some studies have shown no productivity gains for public schools when choice is introduced. But these have examined programs where choice is limited to only a small number of students or where the program is too new for effects to be visible. Hoxby, in contrast, looked at those programs that have existed for a while and which are large enough to produce real competition.
In Milwaukee, for example (where children receive vouchers worth up to $5,783), the improvement in the public schools has been impressive. Students in public schools where at least two-thirds of students were eligible for vouchers scored 8.1, 13.8, and 8.0 national percentile rank points higher in math, science, and language, respectively. Although still positive, achievement gains were somewhat smaller for students in public schools, where fewer students were eligible for vouchers.
The story in Michigan and Arizona is similar. In both states, public schools raised achievement in response to competition. The largest achievement gains were in those public schools that faced the most competition.
I attended the July 4th Fest on Sunday, which was set up by the Whit for Congress committee. It was a gathering of over 1500 Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, and Independents who all wanted to celebrate our freedom as a nation. It was a huge celebration with a barbecue, skydivers, bands, and several speakers, of whom I was one.
Fortunately, it didn’t rain on us, but man, was it hot! And with a high humidity as well, it was mostly just a battle to stay cool. I survived by telling myself that, when the Continental Congress voted on Virginia’s Resolution on Independence on July 2, 1776, they did it in a room without air conditioning wearing several layers of wool clothes in just this kind of weather. The only one who seemed unaffected was Libertarian Presidential candidate Michael Badnarik, who barely even broke a sweat despite never removing a part of his full suit and tie. His only disappointment was not being able to join in the skydiving, which he loves so much. (He’s a skydiving instructor who can do tandem jumps as well–so he could have been the one jumping with George Bush, Sr. on that day!)
I’m very proud that, out of all the speakers that day, I got the biggest cheers from the crowd. They absolutely loved my speech comparing our government to a game of Monopoly®. As usual, I recorded the speech, but there were some audio problems due to some otherwise very welcome wind, so apologies for those places where the wind hit the mic. It’s all here (2.6MB mp3 file). I’d like to thank Ray Ubinger for the photo.