Education

Planned Parenthood: In Their Own (Shrieking) Words

As with yesterday's post about the NEA, where a high ranking official without shame articulated that group's real objectives (money and power) in contradiction to its stated goals of improving education, today we bring you something similar, though thoroughly crude and disturbing, by Planned Parenthood. It's a video, by our friends at Catholicvote.org, of a Planned Parenthood march and rally earlier this year. The video simply records pro-abortion radicals saying (often screaming) what they believe, while (to put it kindly) distorting what pro-lifers believe. Of course, the Mainstream Media won't embarrass its own movement by covering such nonsense (but when there's a Tea Party rally calling for commonsense spending restraint . . . you know what happens). Neither did the MSM cover this rally of "liberals" last year, where participants gladly called themselves socialists and communists. (But let a conservative call these radicals what they admit to being and the media contrives a firestorm.) Still, it's important to hear what the pro-abortion side truly believes (government funding and insurance coverage of abortion on demand), in their own (shrill) words. Nothing close to "safe, legal and rare." Of course, liberals claim that conservatives distort their positions and it is conservatives who are out of touch. But it's hard to claim Planned Parenthood is reasonable after watching this. As with the teachers union, what Planned Parenthood says (and how it acts) for public consumption and what it sincerely shrieks when it thinks no one is watching is vastly different.

"Government should fund Planned Parenthood."

"I want Planned Parenthood to be like Starbucks. I want a Planned Parenthood on every corner."

Sometimes Repetition Is Important

Maybe you've seen this before. If you haven't, you need to. If you have, it bears repeating. If there is any doubt about the intentions, the motives and the goals of the teachers union — the NEA and its Virginia affiliate the VEA — please listen to now former NEA General Counsel Bob Chanin the union's 2009 convention, where he explains his "most important point" — it's not about the merit of their positions, it's not about students, it's not even about "a vision for a great public school for every child." What's it about, then? Power and money, baby! He says so proudly. Power, money and politics. One might even say bullying. Education? "That's simply too high a price to pay" (ironic since they extract a huge price from taxpayers for failing schools, but that's another subject). For all the posturing, disingenuine care for improvement, faux concern for education, demagoguing the need for more tax dollars, and vilifying of those who dare to offer solutions which don't fit their status quo template, they sing a more revealing tune tune behind closed doors.

It's important to know with whom you deal in the public policy arena and to understand their true intentions, which they often obscure by reasonable sounding public rhetoric. Discerning their aims isn't usually difficult — the first howl against education choice and reform or for more taxes and spending for a failing system (a VEA broken record) gives it away. But it's nice to hear them arrogantly admit exactly what they're in it for — money and power — especially when they think no one is listening. That makes it a tad bit sweeter, though they seem not to suffer any shame from it. More and more, however, people are waking up to the real motivation (as they themselves state it) behind the teachers union and its bosses.

"It is not because the merits of our positions. It is not because we care about children. ... NEA is effective we because we have power !"

Cox, Janis Fill Out GOP Leadership Team In House Of Delegates, But What About The Office Space?

Yesterday, the Republican Caucus in the House of Delegates elected Delegate Kirk Cox (R-66, Colonial Heights) to majority leader and Delegate Bill Janis (R-56, Henrico) to majority whip. The election was necessary (see Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog) after current Majority Leader Morgan Griffith was elected to the House of Representatives from Virginia's 9th congressional district, defeating 28-year incumbent Rick Boucher during last month's Republican wave. Cox was the majority whip. Both were unchallenged (see Richmond Times-Dispatch). Statements from the principles include this from Speaker Bill Howell (R-66, Fredericksburg) (see entire statement, here):

Both of these individuals are trusted allies and talented lawmakers with remarkable backgrounds that they’ve used to help House Republicans offer practical solutions and deliver real results.

Kirk is an outstanding member of the House who I rely on . . .  for thoughtful analysis and strategic insights on the important challenges and opportunities facing taxpayers, families, businesses and Virginia. Not only is he a widely acknowledged "go-to" person on the state budget, education, military and natural resource issues, but Kirk also has done a superb job as House Majority Whip counting votes and building support for our ideas.

Likewise, Bill is an engaged and detail-oriented delegate who contributes so much to our Caucus and Commonwealth. His service on key House committees has provided Bill with a firm understanding of the issues and how they impact people of all walks of life. I’m confident that he will continue helping to identify policy goals and forge coalitions in support of sensible legislation that will improve the quality of life for all Virginians.

From Cox:

We have many challenging years ahead with tight budgets and a need to grow private sector jobs. I look forward to working hard with House Republicans and all of my legislative colleagues to address these challenges and the aspirations of the people of Virginia as the next House Majority Leader.

From Janis:

I relish the opportunity to serve as the new House Majority Whip. Together, we’re going to help put Virginians back to work by promoting legislation that fosters an environment conducive to more job growth, more economic opportunity and more prosperity for all Virginians.

Okay, the formalities are out of the way. Now, the question is, what will happen to some very valuable General Assembly Building real estate? Delegate Cox — now one of the most powerful delegates ever outside of a speaker as majority leader and vice chairman of the Appropriations Committee — already has a large and prestigious ninth floor GAB office per his role on Appropriations. But as majority leader, he also will have a large and prestigious suite on the sixth floor where the leaders of both parties and chambers have offices. Which will he choose? Or can he keep both? If he chooses the ninth floor, will Delegate Janis get the sixth floor office (whips don't have offices there)? If he chooses the sixth floor, who gets the ninth floor office?

These are the intriguing questions that drive the General Assembly. We'll keep you posted.

NEA/VEA Come Clean, Admit Real Purpose (Hint: It's Not About Education)

Sometimes we find things that our opposition says or does that are just too revealing not to expose to the public at large. For example, NARAL's fascinating linguistic gymnastics. Now, an astounding admission from the NEA/VEA that confirms what we, and other education reformers, have said for years: That the VEA is about educators, not education. Unlike how the VEA poses, it is not about anything resembling education, much less improving it. Quite simply, the VEA is a union. Not a think tank. Not a "for the children" organization. The VEA is a union and is about union membership. But don't take our word for it. Here is an admission straight from the mouth of the NEA's retiring chief counsel, in 2009:

And that brings me to my final, and most important point. Which is why, at least in my opinion, NEA and its affiliates are such effective advocates. Despite what some among us would like to believe, it is not because of our creative ideas. It is not because of the merit of our positions. It is not because we care about children. And it is not because we have a vision of a great public school for every child. NEA and its affiliates are effective advocates because we have power. And we have power because there are more than 3.2 million people who are willing to pay us hundreds of millions of dollars in dues each year because they believe that we are the unions that can most effectively represent them, the unions that can protect their rights and advance their interests as education employees.

Pretty blatantly stated. But there it is: The NEA/VEA has one goal — the financial and professional betterment of its members, which in turn increases its power. If achievement of its goals requires advocacy for higher education standards or better classroom environments to achieve its union goal, it will pursue what it must. But don’t be fooled. Such advocacy is an inconvenient diversion to its accumulation of power and political goals.

To successfully dismantle the VEA's power in Virginia politics, we must defund it and alternative teacher organizations hold the key. One such alternative is Virginia Professional Educators, a professional organization that offers better insurance policies and other benefits without supporting liberal causes and candidates (click here for more information). As long as teachers continue to send dues to the VEA, it will continue to hire its 30-plus lobbyists in Richmond every year where they then proceed to undermine school choice efforts, push for higher taxes and, incredibly, involve itself in issues that have nothing to do with public education, such as promoting abortion and homosexual marriage. (Improving education? What's that?)

Self-assessments from our opposition are fascinating. Sometimes the honesty in their words is revealing. Take note of the deflated words delivered in an April 2010 speech by VEA President Kitty Boitnott:

This year, our [General Assembly] 'wins' are better measured by what we prevented from happening. ... the VEA has lost members in significant numbers this year due to a whole host of reasons . . . along with the external challenges of having few friends in high places, we have also been suffering from an internal malaise of sorts in many of our very own local affiliates. ... I do not believe that I overstate the case when I say that public education is under siege. It is being attacked at every corner, and there are those who would not only under fund public education . . . but they would dismantle public education in favor of alternative avenues. ...

By its own admission, teachers are wising up and leaving the VEA and, in turn, the VEA is feeling the heat. No longer is it advancing its leftist agenda at the expense of hard working, well meaning teachers. Instead, it's on the defensive. As we've said before, the VEA's worst nightmare — education freedom — is coming to Virginia. It's a matter of when, not if. The Family Foundation and our educational freedom allies are continuing to build a convincing case for school choice in Virginia. We will not relent until Virginia families are given the opportunity to freely choose the best educational option for their children.

Application Deadline For Virginia Boards And Commissions Extended

Over the last couple of weeks we've sounded the call about the opportunity to serve on the hundreds of boards and commissions that set policy for the Commonwealth. The McDonnell administration is looking to fill hundreds of positions subject to gubernatorial appointment for everything from college boards of visitors to commissions that deal on crime, sanctity of life, women's issues, education and government reform, housing, medicine, transportation and just about any aspect of policy and government that affect life in Virginia (see list here). The deadline to apply for (or nominate someone) to a board or commission originally was yesterday. However, in a letter from Director of Appointments Jennifer Aulgur yesterday afternoon, the administration announced that it is extending the application deadline one more week:  

A few weeks ago, we notified you of the new online system for applying to serve in the McDonnell administration on a board or commission.

Thank you for your cooperation, patience and positive comments as we launched this new site and process.

Today was the original deadline to apply for boards or commissions with openings between now and June 30. However, to allow time to ensure that the everyone's application is complete in the new system and to provide grace to any folks who waited until the deadline to apply, we have extended the deadline to Thursday, April 22nd.

If you have questions about OASYS, the board and commission application process or if you need technical assistance in filling out your application or nomination please contact the Appointments staff, and we will gladly assist you. Additionally, anyone who does not have access to a computer or the Internet or who needs assistance filling out the online application because of a disability can contact us as well.

We renew our encouragement for pro-family Virginians from across the Commonwealth, who have an interest in moving Virginia in a positive, pro-traditional values, conservative, limited government direction, to get involved and apply to serve the Commonwealth and influence its public policy in a way that reflects our values and improves lives of all Virginians. For more information, click hereor e-mail Ms. Aulgur at Jennifer.Aulgur@governor.virginia.gov or her deputy, Courtney Groves, at Courtney.Groves@governor.virginia.gov. You may also call their office at 804-786-2441.

Education Freedom Vote Wednesday

Delegate Jimmie Massie’s (R-72, Henrico) bill to provide a bit of educational choice to Virginia students, HB 599, and, therefore, better education opportunities, is in the Senate Finance Committee Wednesday. The bill would provide a tax credit for businesses and individuals that donate to scholarship funds for students in grades K-12. Qualifying families could use those scholarships to send their children to private schools. Despite fierce opposition from the Virginia School Board Association and the Virginia Education Association, the bill passed the House of Delegates 55-44. The House amended HB 599 in such a way as to ensure that there will be no negative fiscal impact to the Commonwealth — something valuable in today’s economy and something that not many tax credits can boast. In fact, the bill will increase per pupil spending in school districts that lose students to private schools because they will have the same share of federal and local funds to educate less students. 

Similar scholarship programs in Pennsylvania and Arizona have been huge successes. Thousands of children have been given opportunities for a better education through scholarships created because funding is available. Despite cries of "taking money from children" in public schools, the scholarship programs in those two states have in no way negatively affected public schools.

Unfortunately, the Senate Finance committee has been very hostile to any legislation that provides education freedom to families. Already this session it voted 9-6 to defeat legislation (SB 133) introduced by Senator Mark Obenshain (R-26, Harrisonburg) that was very similar to Delegate Massie’s bill.

In two different polls conducted by, or on behalf of, The Family Foundation or other education freedom supporters over the past two years, large majorities of Virginians indicated their support for tax credits like the one created in HB 599. Wednesday, we will see if the Senate Finance Committee is listening to Virginia parents, who want all options for the best possible education for their children; or, to the special interests and education establishment, who have given us such mediocrity that these innovative options are demanded by the vast majority of parents.

Policy Issue 1, Parental Rights: Resolution Against U.N. Treaty To Be Introduced In General Assembly

This is the first in a series of five policy statements on issues that will come before the 2010 General Assembly. Each one covers one of The Family Foundation's five areas of principle. The others will follow over the rest of the week.

There are days when I wonder if half the things we hear about in Washington, D.C., are real or if it’s all just a very bad nightmare. Some reports just seem so outrageous.

So when I saw a Fox News headline a few months ago that screamed "U.N. Report Advocates Teaching Masturbation to 5 year-olds," I had that, Oh, this is going to be another exaggeration moment. Certainly, even the U.N., as wacky as it is, wouldn’t publicly endorse such a foolish concept.

Then I read the report for myself. Believe me, the whole teaching-5-year-olds-about- masturbation-thing is just the tip of the iceberg. There is stuff in here that should make every parent who cares at all about their children shudder, starting with the line "teachers remain the best qualified and the most trusted providers of information and support for most children and young people."

Teachers? Really? So much for parents.

Until the November 2008 elections, things like the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child (see our comment, here), something far scarier than the aforementioned U.N. report, were out there, but had little chance of being accepted by our Congress. The convention is such an assault on your right to parent I can’t really describe it. Essentially, the convention gives children "evolving" rights to choose religion, education, etc., regardless of what their parents say. Now, however, there is a serious effort in the United States Senate to force us to join the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, seriously threatening parental rights in our country, not to mention our sovereignty.

To combat this, parents across the nation are urging Congress to pass a parental rights amendment to the United States constitution. You can learn more about this cause at parentalrights.org.

To assist this effort, The Family Foundation is supporting a memorializing resolution in the 2010 General Assembly that would urge Congress to pass the parental rights amendment. Similar to legislation we supported in 2004 that urged Congress to pass a marriage amendment, a memorializing resolution sends a message to our federal representatives that we want them to protect the rights of parents to raise their children without government interference.

Although the resolution has yet to receive a bill number, it's patron in the House is Delegate Brenda Pogge (R-96, Yorktown). We look forward to updating you on the progress of this legislation throughout the General Assembly and what you can do to help see it pass.

Coloring "Yes" And "No" In Virginia Public Schools

The Bible is an acceptable source for young people to look to for greater educational understanding? Yes! Educating young people in sexual abstinence and securing their physical health as well as emotional and relational well being as a result. No!

These answers colorfully highlight the great juxtaposition of worldviews that currently are playing out in America today. However, don’t think for a moment, as many in the punditry class stress, that the "Yes" answer is a red state exclusive, while the "No" answer is a blue state domain. Both answers were given right here in The Old Dominion recently by people elected to guide the education of our children.

On Tuesday, November 10, the Chesterfield County School Board voted unanimously to allow county high schools, as one supporter said, "to teach the Bible as an elective from an academic perspective."

On the other hand, on Tuesday, November 17, (as we wrote here), the Richmond Times- Dispatch reported this about a Henrico County high school:

The scheduling of an abstinence-only speaker today at Douglas Freeman High School has drawn protests from some teachers, an abortion-rights organization, and a gay and lesbian education network. (The speaker's engagement was upheld by the principle and school district, thankfully.)

Simply put, this isn’t a red versus blue thing. These issues are the very seasonably unfashionable colors of black and white. Some in our commonwealth are working to stay the forces of secular progressivism and others are looking to promote it. Two questions face each of us:

Am I managing to see the actual worldview that the children in my public school district are being taught?

And

Am I encouraging those leaders who stand up for truth in spite of the criticism?

If your children attend public schools, please take some time to uncover what dominant worldview they are being taught. Find out what they are being told Yes! and No! to. From that color spectrum, the answers will quickly emerge from a hazy purple to a very poignant "Yes" or "No."

Education Study Provides More Ammunition For Much Needed Reform

Here are more telling details from the education choice polling data and study of which we were a party and released yesterday: Paul DiPerna, research director for The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, wrote in his study that the research indicates:

a major disconnect between Virginia's schooling preferences and actual school enrollments. ... As in other states where we have surveyed, the implication of these results is that Virginia does not have a sufficient school choice system in place to match parents' schooling preferences. (See the entire report here.)

The survey polled 1,203 likely voters and was conducted from October 1-4. The margin of error was plus or minus 2.8 percent points. (See today's Richmond Times-Dispatch for coverage of yesterday's study release news conference.) The results illustrate the vast support in Virginia for a program of income tax credits for donations to scholarship foundations that, in turn, provide funds to qualifying students to attend a school of their choice instead of an assigned public school.

Of course, common sense and public opinion never guarantee a thing, and this issue is living proof — for years the General Assembly has refused to pass legislation to enable such foundations to fully unleash their potential to provide more students better education options. But the results of this study will be a much needed resupply of ammunition that we and several partner organizations will use this coming session and beyond. For example:

» 65 percent of Virginians support tax-credit scholarships, while only 22 percent oppose.

» 57 percent of Virginians favor school vouchers, while only 35 percent oppose.

Even when broken down by party affiliation, Virginians strongly support tax-credit scholarships and vouchers:

» 64 percent of Democrats, 68 percent of Republicans and 66 percent of independents support tax-credit scholarships.

» 53 percent of Democrats, 67 percent of Republicans and 58 percent of independents support school vouchers.

» 81 percent of Democrats, 79 percent of Republicans and 76 percent of independents support special needs school vouchers.

Additionally, the favor-oppose margins are large among the parties:

» On tax-credit scholarships, it's +43 among Democrats, +46 among Republicans and +44 among independents.

» On school vouchers, it's +15 among Democrats, +39 among Republicans and +22 among independents.

» On special needs school vouchers, it's +67 among Democrats, +64 among Republicans and +60 among independents.

Education reform will be an issue to watch this session. With school choice a major issue in the recent campaign and a new philosophy at the helm of state government, sound ideas, such as those Virginians overwhelmingly support in this study, may have their best chance in years to get a much needed foothold in Virginia's education system.

Post's McCartney Calls Out Deeds, Says He Stumbled In Debate

You know things aren't going well for a liberal candidate when his Mainstream Media allies call him out. How let down must Democrat gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds have felt when he saw this headline from Washington Post lib Robert McCartney?

Plain and Simple, Deeds Stumbles In N.Va. Debate

Ouch!

But true. See for yourself. We can't add much more to what Mr. McCartney wrote. So, we let him speak for himself, with emphasis added to certain points and occasional parenthetical comments of mine because . . . because . . . I still don't know the difference between tax increases and "raise new money"!

. . .  as governor Deeds would be more likely to actually fix the roads than his Republican opponent, former attorney general Robert F. McDonnell. That's because Deeds is willing to raise taxes for transportation, while McDonnell isn't, and some kind of tax increase is the only way to do the job. (Oh, really? The mind of a liberal, and they say conservatives see things only in black and white.)

But Deeds certainly didn't explain that clearly Thursday. When asked directly by moderator David Gregory of NBC News whether he would raise taxes if necessary in the current economic climate, Deeds said: "No, I'm not going to raise taxes. But I am the only person on this dais who will sign a transportation plan that raises new money." (Say, what!?!?!?)

Huh? When I and other reporters pressed him afterward to clarify, he said he meant only that he wouldn't raise taxes for the state's general fund, which pays for a broad range of services, including education and law enforcement. That clearly left open the possibility that he'd raise taxes for the transportation fund, which is separate.

Even then, though, Deeds tried to have it both ways. In one breath he told reporters, "I have no plans to raise taxes." In another he said, "I intend to sign" a bill that "raises new money for transportation." That sounds like a plan to me.

Deeds also got a bit testy with a reporter who pressed him about whether he'd be ready to increase the gasoline tax. He's supported that before — to his great credit, in my view — but he wouldn't say so Thursday.

"I think I made myself clear, young lady. I don't know," Deeds said. ("I don't know" is clear?) The McDonnell campaign immediately began showing the clip to the press corps. Their message: You don't like what our guy wrote in 1989 about working women? (But see what Deeds has said, done and voted for in his 40s and 50s.)

Virginia News Stand: September 16, 2009

Annotations & Elucidations  An All-Star Cast

The last shall be first, right? So, today, I bring up our Commentary section first, because we have an all-star cast, with terrific insight on major issues and events in the news right now that may very well affect everything about the future of the country. The terrific Michelle Malkin looks into the ACORN abomination, where employees at offices all around the country have advocated the breaking several major laws while recorded on tape. The always on target Brent Bozell looks at the two-million person march last weekend, the largest tea party in world history. The insightful and patriotic Bobby Eberle commemorates 9/11,  while the great, and I do mean great, Walter E. Williams, says it all in one word: education. Each one is worth the read as well as RedState.com's analysis on how a pro-life Democrat will kill socialized medicine if it does not explicitly prohibit abortion coverage. 

In the gubernatorial campaign, it looks like — again, of people — the Washington Post is covering issues again. Finally. A makeup call? All else is the horse race: money and polls.  

News:

Deeds on the Defensive Over Collective Bargaining Positions (Washington Post)

Deeds, McDonnell woo lawyers and argue about taxes (The Daily Press)

New McDonnell ad accuses Deeds of misleading attack (Roanoke Times)

At Harbor Park, candidates for governor take a few whacks (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

Poll: Gap between McDonnell, Deeds narrows (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

McDonnell leads Deeds in cash on hand (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Deeds raises more in period, but McDonnell has more cash (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

Deeds outraises McDonnell (Washington Times)

Record Haul for Deeds, but McDonnell Has More in Bank (Washington Post)

November Candidates Meet And Greet At The Shenandoah County Fair (Harrisonburg Daily News-Record)

Bell enjoys sizable lead in donations (Charlottesville Daily Progress)

National News:

Dems query Obama's view on health care for aliens (AP/GOPUSA.com)

THE INFLUENCE GAME: Health interests fund senators (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Analysis:

Abortion is Lethal — Not Only to Babies, but also to ObamaCare  (RedState.com)

Commentary:

ACORN Watch: A 'Sting'-ing Indictment of Media Hypocricy (Michelle Malkin/GOPUSA.com)

Our 'Intolerance Festival' (Brent Bozell/GOPUSA.com)

Education (Walter E. Williams/GOPUSA.com)

Remembering 9/11 (Bobby Eberle/GOPUSA.com)

Winning Matters In High Gear In Phase One

Our Winning Matters campaign — the voter identification, registration, education and mobilization projectof both The Family Foundation and The Family Foundation Action — is in full gear. It has been, actually, for some time, and a great deal already has been accomplished. We have nearly a dozen full- and part-time staff hard at work across Virginia. With the help of pastors and other committed Christians, they are  identifying, informing and mobilizing pro-family, values voters to cast values-driven votes on Election Day.  

The first phase of Winning Matters is identifying eligible voters in Virginia according to their values and making sure they are registered to vote. Sadly, statistics tell us that nearly half of self-proclaimed evangelicals are not even registered. Thus, they ignore a critical responsibility and minimize the effectiveness of pro-family citizens in the political process.

While it may sound over-used and outdated, one of the best methods for identifying and registering like-minded individuals is through churches. Every day our field staff meets with pastors from some of the more than 5,000 churches we have identified across the Commonwealth, and encourages them to conduct voter registration drives prior to the October 5th registration deadline.

Many pastors still do not practice this basic civic process in their churches. Some pastors still do not understand that it is not a political activity — in fact in Virginia, voters cannot even register by political party.

Therefore, Winning Matters encourages all churches to host a voter registration drive either on Sunday, September 13, 20 or 27.

Beyond churches, the process of voter identification has become an incredibly precise science in recent years, especially with the Internet. Anytime you visit a Web site to shop, read political news or participate in other special interests, you leave a fingerprint. These consumer behaviors can be predictive of one’s potential vote. This type of "micro targeting" was extremely effective in the California marriage amendment campaign. Our Winning Matters campaign is capitalizing on all of these established practices to do our part to find conservatives who might not be registered to vote.

In a less high-tech way of demonstrating this, believe it or not, we have individuals who support us or who have signed an issue petition who are not registered to vote. As part of Winning Matters, we will cross check our entire list with registration rolls and will send a letter and a voter registration form to any who need them.

After all the identification and registration is completed, Winning Matters will move into phase two — education. We will provide an update on that portion of the campaign after the October 5 voter registration deadline. In the meantime, if your pastor is not familiar with Winning Matters, or you know of other people who maybe instrumental in activating your church into this civic action, or even know individuals who are not registered to vote, forward them this link so they can learn more about Winning Matters.

VEA/NEA Endorse Policy Contrary To Virginia Law At The Expense Of Education

Yesterday,we reported on the VEA's proud go-along at the NEA national convention endorsing same-sex marriage (see here). Instead of concetrating on issues that matter to teachers and improving education, the VEA has endorsed advocating a radical left-wing policy in contradiction of the Virginia Constitution and statutory law. The president of the VEA, Dr. Kitty J. Boitnott, responded to our post with a long comment on the thread stating that our take on the VEA/NEA position wasn't exactly what the convention meant with its lock-step adoption of the radical homosexual agenda. She goes on about "social justice." What any of this has to do with teaching clearly is beyond most parents' concerns for their children's education. 

Not only is the  homosexual marriage resolution contrary to the views of a majority of Virginians, she did not answer our concern about whether the VEA, with this policy position, now will encourage its member teachers to ignore the new traditional marriage guidelines to the Family Life Education curriculum. A true conflict of interest now is on the record.

Adopting a radical agenda contrary to Virginia law. Wasting time on matters completely non-germane to education. A significant conflict of interest.

We report. You decide. Below is the resolution:

NEA Representative Assembly New Business Items (NBIs) NEW BUSINESS ITEM E ADOPTED

"Resolutions B-13 (Racism, Sexism, Sexual Orientation, and Gender Identification Discrimination) and I-13 (Civil Rights) set forth NEA's opposition to the discriminatory treatment of same-sex couples and its belief that such couples should have the same legal rights and benefits as similarly-situated heterosexual couples. The Legislative Program is in accord: NEA supports "obtaining, preserving, and strengthening basic civil and human rights under law," and specifically calls for "passage of a federal statute prohibiting employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity and expression." Section IV(b). In implementation of the foregoing policies, the Representative Assembly adopts the following action plan with regard to same-sex couples:

1. NEA will support its affiliates seeking to enact state legislation that guarantees to same-sex couples the right to enter into a legally recognized relationship pursuant to which they have the same rights and benefits as similarly-situated heterosexual couples, including, without limitation, rights and benefits with regard to medical decisions, taxes, inheritance, adoption, and immigration.

2. NEA does not believe that a single term must be used to designate this legally recognized "equal treatment" relationship, and recommends that each state decide for itself whether "marriage," "civil union," "domestic partnership," or some other term is most appropriate based upon the cultural, social, and religious values of its citizenry.

3. NEA will support its affiliates in opposing state constitutional and/or statutory provisions that could have the effect of prohibiting the state and its political subdivisions from providing the same rights and benefits to same-sex couples as are provided to similarly-situated heterosexual couples.

4. NEA will take such actions as may be appropriate to support efforts to (a) repeal any federal legislation and/or regulations that discriminate against same-sex couples, and (b) enact federal legislation and/or regulations that treat same-sex couples and similarly-situated heterosexual couples equally with regard to social security, health care, taxation, and other federal rights and benefits.

5. NEA recognizes that the term "marriage" has religious connotations and that same-sex marriages may not be compatible with the beliefs, values, and/or practices of certain religions. Because of its support for the separation of church and state and the right to religious freedom guaranteed by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, NEA supports the right of religious institutions to refuse to perform or recognize same-sex marriages.

The Executive Committee will monitor the implementation of this New Business Item, and keep NEA affiliates informed of actions taken to achieve its objectives."

Parents . . . Dismissed!

One of my co-workers happened to catch a sign on the side of a Greater Richmond Richmond Company bus this week and its message certainly caught his attention.  We have been saying for years that the last people many in the taxpayer funded government school system want involved with education is parents. That sentiment is often dismissed outright and scoffed at, particularly by those opposed to parental choice in education (see hypocrisy). But here we have what seems to be a pretty clear message to parents about what role the Richmond City Publlic Schools want them to play:

school-ad-for-blog

Yup, that's it. Give your kid a kiss in the morning and the educrats will "take it from here."

Never mind the hilarity of Richmond City Public Schools and "world-class education" in the same advertisement or the "Choice for Parents" line, focus on the audacity behind "we'll take if from here." At least now it appears that the education establishment is no longer pretending to be worried about the pretense of parental involvement. Oh, I know, they have the throw away line in the ad, "Let's work together." But the message in really big letters at the top is pretty clear:

"Parents, thanks for dropping by, but don't let the door hit you on the way out."

Now, just who is funding this neat little campaign? My guess: hard-working parents.

Virginia News Stand: May 11, 2009

The News Stand isn't the only one returning today: Looks like the missing Musketeer, Senator Creigh Deeds of Bath has finally poked his nose out in the Democrat gubernatorial primary campaign. He garners two headlines around the state today and prominent mentions elsewhere. Perhaps he's been there all along and we just didn't know it, as the Washington Post and Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star attest to the lackluster campaign thus far. But maybe Terry McAuliffe's comment on a Richmond radio station will perk things up. Dems also tell The Post they think dreariness and fatigue are what led to some Republican wins in their NoVa bastion as of late. In national news, the current governor's boss, the president, appears poised to take a page from Tim Kaine's policy book and eliminate abstinence education funding. Then there are the tales of two states and approaches to education: A California Senate committee passed what's being called "Gay Day" legislation for schools' curriculum where parents, according to one report, can't opt out their children. By contrast, Texas officials chose a prominent historian to restore basic and traditional lessons, that have slowly evaporated over the years, to its public school curriculum.  

News:

After GOP Wins, Democrats Are Worried About Fatigue (Washington Post)

Delegates urged to attend meeting (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

In the Race for Governor, a Drizzle of Ads Portends a Deluge (Washington Post)

Dems' primary appears lackluster (Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star)

Ousted GOP chairman takes aim at 'insiders' (The Daily Press

Deeds: Education, technology key (Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star)

Facing uphill battle in governor's race, Deeds still presses ahead (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

McAuliffe touts green energy (Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star)

Democrat to challenge incumbent in 6th District (Roanoke Times)

National News:

Obama would ax abstinence-only funding (OneNewsNow.com)

History scholar hopes to revamp Texas curriculum (OneNewsNow.com)

'Gay Day' Bill Passes California Senate Committee (CNSNews.com)

We're Looking For More Than A Few Good People

Since 1985, The Family Foundation has been on the forefront of critical public policy debates helping Virginia citizens, lawmakers and business leaders better understand and apply to law the principles of life, marriage, parental authority, constitutional government and religious liberty. Non-profit and non-partisan, we are the Commonwealth's oldest and most influential family public policy organization. Our mission is to strengthen the family through accurate research and education, prompting civic activism and affecting public policy outcomes. The Family Foundation of Virginia is proud to be associated with Dr. James Dobson's Focus on the Family and its network of nearly forty independent state policy councils.

The entire country is focused on Virginia this year. Other than New Jersey, we are the only state that has statewide elections (for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and the entire House of Delegates). We will need ongoing assistance so we can distribute our 2008-09 General Assembly Report Card (to be made public within a couple of weeks) and other materials to help educate Christians and churches around the Commonwealth regarding the principles each candidate represents during this November's elections. While candidates campaign for votes, we will educate citizens on the principles these numerous  individuals represent.

To pull this off, we need you! We have various needs that can be fulfilled by middle school, high school (homeschoolers welcome!) or college students. These activities are perfect to meet community service requirements for graduation or for adults (such as retirees or stay-at-home-parents) who would enjoy assisting us in our mission. We can use help on a weekly, bi-monthly or monthly basis. Our headquarters is located across from the Capitol Square in downtown Richmond and we there is convenient parking. 

Some of the areas where we can use help include data entry and data base managment (basic computer skills) in office or at home; mailings (production and stuffing); and distributing General Assembly Report Cards and other items to churches. 

If interested in volunteering your valued talent in order to advance the cause of traditional values in the Commonwealth, then please contact Marie Edwards at marie@familyfoundation.org or call her at (804) 343-0010.

During this crucial time in our Commonwealth's and nation's history, we believe it is more important than ever to do whatever possible to secure the traditional values we hold dear and precious, while they are under heavy assault. Please consider helping us with what will be a rewarding experience.

Virginia News Stand: April 27, 2009

It's a somewhat light day at the News Stand. One item of note is that a challenger has emerged against the incumbent in the 15th House district, according to the Harrisonburg Daily News-Record. Why mention only "incumbent"? Because that's all the DNR did, which makes for an interesting piece of journalism. The incumbent is, in fact, Delegate Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah). In news about faith, an Episcopal author has some harsh words for his denomination. In his new book, Mortal Follies: Episcopalians and the Crisis of Mainline Christianity, William Murchison claims that when its presiding bishop is more concerned about education, AIDS and hunger than she is the Gospel, the Episcopal Church is more service organization than faith (see previous comment).

In news about where faith and values meet public policy, it's wedding bells in Iowa, but not for any good reason; while Kansas Governor and HHS Secretary-nominee Kathleen Sebelius' veto of a pro-life bill reveals deeper ties than imaginable to abortionist George Tiller. Finally, Vice President Bishop Biden is back in the news, disgracing the Catholic Church once again by accepting an award from a pro-abortion group at a Catholic university. (More on this in the next post.)

News:

Va. House incumbents take early lead in money race (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Challenger Comes Forward In 15th District (Harrisonburg Daily News-Record)

Gubernatorial Trio Have Quickly Tailored Messages to Draw Blacks (Washington Post)

Iowa poised to begin same-sex weddings (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

National News:

'Brazen allegiance' to Tiller behind veto by Sebelius (OneNewsNow.com)

Episcopal Church resembles 'Peace Corps in ecclesiastical drag'  (OneNewsNow.com)

Presbyterians reject homosexual clergy again (OneNewsNow.com)

Pro-Abortion Joe Biden Says There's 'No Excuse' For Violence Against a Child (OneNewsNow.com blog)

Pastors Luncheon To Feature Bishop E.W. Jackson, Sr.

Tomorrow, Pastors For Family Values, the pastoral component of The Family Foundation, and the Capital Bible Seminary, will sponsor a Pastors Fellowship Lunch (RSVP info here) at 8001 Forbes Place, Suite 111, in Springfield. It will last from 12:00-2:00 p.m. There is no charge for the event, which includes lunch, but a reservation is required. All pastors are invited. The featured speaker is someone we are especialy pleased to have, one who will not disappoint anyone who attends: Bishop E. W. Jackson, Sr. He is the Founder of Exodus Faith Ministries, a nondenominational ministry headquartered in Chesapeake (and satellite church in Boston), as well as author of Ten Commandments To An Extraordinary Life — Making Your Dreams Come True, published in 2008.

Bishop Jackson has a wealth of varied, real life experiences that make him a rare resource of intellect and inspiration. After three years in the U.S. Marine Corp, he attended the University of Massachusetts-Boston, from where he was graduated Summa Cum Laude in 1975 after only three years, and was awarded the Phi Beta Kappa Key.

He was graduated from Harvard Law School in 1978 and also studied theology at Harvard Divinity School, and was licensed to preach by Ebenezer Baptist Church in Boston. After a successful professional career, including a 15-year law practice and work in the radio business — as host of a daily nationally syndicated program and founder of Boston's first and only all-gospel radio station — he moved to the nonprofit field.

In 1996, he took over "The Samaritan Project," a national outreach and racial reconciliation effort that distributed $500,000 to churches victimized by arson. In recognition of his national leadership, he was consecrated a bishop in 1998 and moved to Chesapeake to establish the headquarters for Exodus Faith Ministries, Int'l.

Bishop Jackson served both as a minister for the Boston Red Sox chapel services and as protestant Chaplain for the Boston Fire Department. He has taught Law at Northeastern University in Boston and at Strayer University in Virginia Beach and Chesapeake.

He and his wife, Theodora, are the founders of the Chesapeake MLK Leadership Breakfast which brings together hundreds people from the greater Chesapeake area to celebrate the life and ideals of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. They also are the founders of Youth With A Destiny, a nonprofit  organization dedicated to helping youth avoid drugs, gangs and violence through faith, education and positive activities.

He presently serves as a member of the Chesapeake Police Advisory Board, the South Norfolk Revitalization Commission and a Trustee of the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce.

Bishop Jackson's media appearances include CNN's Talk Back Live, ABC's Good Morning America, ABC's Politically Incorrect, Hardball with Chris Matthews, C-SPAN's Washington Journal and National Public Radio. He also hosts his own radio program on WYRM-AM/1110 in Norfolk. His op-eds have appeared in newspapers around the country and he has been the subject of the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, New York Times and many other publications.

Bishop Jackson will bring encouragement to the pastors attending the luncheon tomorrow, and is something surely not to miss, especially during these ambiguous times.  

Liberal Response To Tea Parties

It was inevitable, I suppose. Those of us who believe in limited, constitutional government as envisioned by the Founders and who see the free market as most conducive to individual and family financial success couldn't possibly be allowed to hold rallies in response to the new socialism coming from Washington without being labeled. After all, the postmodern liberal left lives for labels. So, what are all of us who simply want taxes to be reasonable? (Please, don't call us anti-tax . . . we really do believe in limited taxation for a limited government, just not oppressive taxation that has no end in sight.) Racist.

Yup, that's right. Get a decent education, get a good job, wait until you're married to have children, work endless hours, buy a house you can actually afford, make your mortgage payments on time, get frustrated over our government's exponential growth and bailouts for those who made poor economic decisions and failed businesses, decide to stand with your fellow Americans in protest and you, my friend, are a racist.

At least that's what our taxpayer supported friends at ACORN are telling the American people (using some of those tax dollars you greedy fringe wackos want to keep to feed your own children). 

As rumors spread that ACORN plans to crash Tea Parties planned tomorrow for over 250 locations nationwide, they are also putting the PR machine to work to try to stop the bleeding from Obama's increasing unpopular money grab plan. And what better plan than go to your friends in the MSM and get the labels out there.

So are you intimidated? Planning to cower at home tomorrow so you won't be seen on CNN under the banner "Racist Rally"? 

Somehow I doubt it. Then again, conservatives have seldom been intimidated by the label thing. 

Just don't call me anti-tax!

Will Government Replace God?

Friday's Wall Street Journal contained an excellent article written by none other than Dr. Brad Wilcox, The Family Foundation's very own Marriage Commission member. OK, he's more than a Marriage Commission member.  When we are not utilizing his expertise, he also serves as a sociology professor at the University of Virginia. Seriously, we've been so honored to have Brad be apart of our organization that we have soaked him for all the time we can get. We had him speak at our 2007 Lobby Day, our 2008 Board of Directors Retreat and to the General Assembly House Education Committee in 2009. Imagine what 2010 holds for you Brad! Dr. Wilcox' WSJ article outlines the inverse relationship between size and scope of government and the religious observation. Basically, the more folks turn to the government to provide all of their needs (Scandanavia, etc.), the less they need to turn to the church. Anyone who has fallen on hard times knows that the blow is softer when cushioned by a loving and supportive church community. While it might have been good enough for Paul and his cohorts to "sell their possessions and goods and give to anyone as he had need," today this wonderful human experience requiring self-sacrifice and a sense of community is less desirable if the government can provide "cradle to the grave" health care, education and housing. 

Combine these findings with a study we co-released with the Family Research Council in December 2008 that showed children have fewer problems at school and home when they frequently attend religious services. Coauthored by Drs. Nicholas Zill[1] and Philip Fletcher [2], this research found that religious attendance had an effect on the likelihood of repeating a grade level, having their parents contacted by school for behavioral issues, diminished social development and much more. These differences held up even after controlling for family income and poverty, low parent education levels, and race and ethnicity.

So, bigger government means less religious participation and less religious attendance means behavioral and educational challenges for children. As we continue on the road to the great welfare state, let's be sure we know the end game.

[1] Dr. Nicholas Zill is the founding president of Child Trends and the former vice president of Westat, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

[2] Dr. Philip Fletcher is a research psychologist at Westat.