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  1. Yesterday
  2. The first time I was ever given morphine I was 25 years old. It was 2010, and I was hospitalized with acute pancreatitis. Doctors sent me home with pills of the potent opioid hydromorphone. My pain was extreme, and my doctors were concerned. The potentially life-threatening condition is rare in young people. Mine was caused by an abnormally formed bile duct with a small gallstone lodged in it—a condition made worse by a botched procedure that led to an extended stay in the ICU. All the while, the pain, and pain medicine, increased. Occasional injections of morphine became a button I could push every 15 minutes for another release of the liquid opioid hydromorphone. As the weeks went by, doctors added a patch on my arm with a second opioid; I didn’t understand its significance at the time, as I had never heard the word “fentanyl” before. The doctors had put my odds of survival at 50-50, and I was lucky how that coin landed. While I recovered after months in the hospital, I didn’t know that I was developing a new potentially fatal complication: an opioid addiction. It was far from inevitable but not unusual. In 2010, the term “opioid crisis” was not common parlance, but deaths had already skyrocketed. More than 14,000 people in the United States would die that year from prescription opioid overdoses alone. Crackdowns on prescribing opioids then shifted many users to seek out illicit opioid drugs, including heroin and fentanyl, driving the death toll higher. In 2014, when I first became aware of the scope of the problem, opioid overdoses (prescription and illicit) claimed the lives of 78 people in the United States per day. When I first told my story publicly in 2016, that number was 115. In 2017, when I started writing my book Addiction Nation, the death toll from opioids was 130 per day. Again, I was lucky. Addiction exists along a spectrum, not a duality, and mine was caught early. My doctor was empathetic and compassionate in a way that made it easier to accept the help that I needed. I was not forced into quitting “cold turkey.” Instead, I was given time, ongoing pain treatment, and the resources I needed to step down gradually. Even with all the support I had, the process was not easy. My Christian faith was a crucial part of that journey. I prayed and meditated. I looked to the wisdom of my tradition for hope and inspiration. A friend was making plans to start a church and picked me up every week for our meetings in his house. Faith and spirituality have been important parts of the recovery stories of countless people. At the same time, there are beliefs that arise from my own American Protestant tradition that distort cultural and public policy views toward both addiction and drugs. The “demonization” of substances and the emphasis on complete abstinence from drugs or alcohol in recovery can hinder the most effective treatment methods, particularly for opioids. This ideology undergirds a “war on drugs” that has not only failed, but has also made our overdose crisis worse. As long as bad theology helps drive our drug policy, we will be held back from some of the most effective and life-saving ways of addressing addiction. The American Protestant view of drugs is best traced through the most popular and widespread spread drug in human history—alcohol. Christopher Cook, psychiatrist and professor of religion and theology at the University of Durham, tackles this project in his 2006 book Alcohol, Addiction and Christian Ethics. He argues that throughout Christian history and theology, Christians have expressed caution and condemnation against drunkenness but not necessarily against the consumption of alcohol itself. In the Hebrew Bible, wine is often referred to as a “blessing,” but warnings against drunkenness and excess are also ubiquitous. In the New Testament, the first miracle of Jesus is to make more wine for wedding guests, but elsewhere drunkenness is condemned. For the theologian Augustine, wine was a good thing but as Cook writes, “drunkenness is a result of a disordered will.” Cook argues that Thomas Aquinas in his seminal work Summa Theologica cautioned against both total abstinence and regular drunkenness as extremes to be avoided. Read Entire Article
  3. One of the most important things to correcting the job market is creating a highly trained workforce. The current 47 retraining programs at a total cost of $18 billion annually that the federal government runs are showing results far below what their attendees and the taxpayers that fund them want and need. To remedy this issue, Republicans propose consolidating these programs into State block grants, which would allow training to be coordinated with local schools and employers. They would also like to see states establish “Personal Reemployment Accounts, letting trainees direct resources in ways that will steer them toward long-term employment, especially through on-the-job training with participating employers.” Republicans support embracing immigrants that can positively contribute to the workforce and help expand the economy. They believe this can be achieved “by a policy of strategic immigration, granting more work visas to holders of advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering, and math from other nations.” These immigrants can help the U.S. develop new markets and products, further healing the economy and easing unemployment numbers. Furthermore, Republicans would like to see foreign students that graduate from American universities with degrees in science, technology, engineering or math encouraged to remain in the country. Republicans strongly support employee stock ownership. They believe that “employee stock ownership plans create capitalists and expand the ownership of private property and are therefore the essence of a high-performing free enterprise economy, which creates opportunity for those who work and honors those values that have made our nation so strong.” Today’s workforce needs more flexibility than ever before, and is happy when “allowed to innovate and rethink the status quo.” Employee ownership is the perfect way to foster these differences between the up and coming generation and those before it. Republicans feel that Democrats are “clinging to antiquated notions of confrontation and concentrating power in the Washington offices of union elites,” and that they need to embrace employee ownership in order to properly serve the workforce that will soon dominate the working population. republicanviews.org
  4. In order to expand and create a larger job market, American businesses need to be able to expand beyond their borders. In order to do this, Republicans believe that we need to find a tax solution. American businesses currently face the world’s highest corporate tax rate. This is part of what contributes to the drive for corporations to outsource. It also “ lessens investment, cripples job creation, lowers U.S. wages, and fosters the avoidance of tax liability-without actually increasing tax revenues.” A reduction in corporate tax would increase competition internally within U.S. competitions and allow corporations to compete better internationally. Republicans would like to implement a permanent research and development tax credit, and a repeal of the corporate alternative minimum tax. Republicans also support “the recommendation of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, as well as the current President’s Export Council, to switch to a territorial system of corporate taxation, so that profits earned and taxed abroad may be repatriated for job-creating investment here at home without additional penalty.” Every $1 billion in additional U.S. exports means another 5,000 jobs here at home, making the ability to compete in the global market crucial to reducing unemployment. This statement is supported by the fact that “The Free Trade Agreements negotiated with friendly democracies since President Reagan’s trailblazing pact with Israel in 1985 facilitated the creation of nearly ten million jobs supported by our exports.” For this reason, Republicans fully support economic policies that will improve American ability to compete in an international market. In some cases, this includes creating a world where America can walk away from exports. For example, China has often manipulated currencies to our disadvantage and piggybacked off of western technological advances. Rather than conceding defeat in these situations, Republicans believe that we should fight back. They believe that we should “insist on full parity in trade with China and stand ready to impose countervailing duties if China fails to amend its currency policies. Commercial discrimination will be met in kind. Counterfeit goods will be aggressively kept out of the country. Victimized private firms will be encouraged to raise claims in both U.S. courts and at the World Trade Organization. Punitive measures will be imposed on foreign firms that misappropriate American technology and intellectual property. Until China abides by the WTO’s Government Procurement Agreement, the United States government will end procurement of Chinese goods and services.” These practices would create a level playing field, allowing the U.S. to better compete globally and therefore expand the job market. republicanviews.org
  5. A debate regarding the raising of minimum wage has been raging for years. One of the biggest arguments that the Democratic Party is making for the minimum wage increase is that it will create jobs. They have estimated that raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 would create $22 billion in new economic activity, translating to 85,000 new full-time jobs. They argue that these jobs are created when minimum wage workers have more money to spend on goods. This causes consumer demand to increase, and employers therefore need more employees to keep up with this higher demand. However, a study published in the Review of Economics and Statistics in November of 2010 found “no detectable employment losses from the kind of minimum wage increases we have seen in the United States.” Another published in 2011 “found no impact on hours worked or employment levels.” Again, all of these studies are done based on small increases of the minimum wage. They show that small minimum wage increases did not decrease unemployment. Therefore, we have no proof that a larger one will. republicanviews.org
  6. With unemployment at historic highs, society is turning to the government to help create jobs. However, the parties have very different views on how to approach this problem and just what the government’s role in job creation should be. Republican views on jobs focus around helping small businesses and promoting international competition. This will in turn feed economic growth and create new jobs. Republicans also believe in employee stock ownership and the improvement of reemployment and retraining programs throughout the country. They believe that bailouts and government-built subsidies are not the answer to properly growing the economy. They do help produce jobs, but on a temporary basis and not permanently or sustainably. Instead, they propose free market policies that can create sustainable economic growth and sustainable job market expansion. The largest fundamental belief of the Republican party when it comes to jobs is that less governmental regulation will help foster lower unemployment rates. The government needs to stop interfering and instead give the public the resources it needs to feed its own economy and therefore create more jobs. Republicans on Small Business and Entrepreneurship Small businesses create a majority of Americans jobs, patents, and U.S. exporters. Republicans believe that this means fostering small businesses is one of the best ways to improve the job market. While Democratic administrations implement regulatory, contracting, and capital barriers that often impede the success of small businesses, Republicans would rather provide them with reformed tax codes that would allow them to grow and create more jobs. They also believe in encouraging investment in small business, and seek to “create an environment where adequate financing and credit are available to spur manufacturing and expansion.” republicanviews.org
  7. “We are committed to doing everything we can to build a full-employment economy, where everyone has a job that pays enough to raise a family and live in dignity with a sense of purpose.” DEMOCRATIC PARTY PLATFORM Democrats believe that our economy should strengthen our country and work for every American, not just those at the top. We are committed to helping all Americans meet the challenges of the 21st century by spurring job creation, rebuilding our infrastructure, investing in clean-energy technologies and small businesses, and making sure corporations, the wealthy, and Wall Street pay their fair share. When President Obama took office in 2009, he inherited an economy in freefall, with huge deficits, skyrocketing health care costs, dwindling employment, and banking and housing markets on the brink of collapse. Working with the President, Democrats stabilized the financial system, helped to prevent a second Great Depression, and created millions of new jobs. Democrats cut taxes for working families, provided help for small businesses and homeowners, and strengthened consumer protections. Despite Republican obstruction at almost every turn, Democrats provided relief for hardworking Americans who lost their jobs through no fault of their own. Now we’re working to protect that progress, and fighting to extend it to every American who has been left behind. When Republicans cut taxes for the wealthy but not the middle class, or threaten our recovery with dangerous financial policies, Democrats will fight back. We want to guarantee that all Americans have the opportunity to succeed and that all working families can enjoy economic security. Democrats won’t be satisfied until every American who wants to work can find a job. By making debt-free college available to all Americans, cracking down on companies that ship profits and jobs overseas, fighting for equal pay and paid leave, and ensuring the wealthiest citizens and largest corporations pay their fair share, Democrats will never stop fighting to build an economy works for all. democrats.org
  8. Increase American Manufacturing Democrats believe that one way to ensure job market growth is to increase American manufacturing. This will both prevent further outsourcing and create new jobs at home. The first step to this would be creating a national manufacturing strategy. Many American manufacturers are currently facing international competitors that benefit from the carefully crafted manufacturing strategies of other countries. These strategies include benefits such as tax incentives, investments in research, skills development initiatives, and support for infrastructure projects in order to help their manufacturers get ahead. By creating and implementing a strong internal manufacturing strategy, Americans would be able to not only overcome these hurdles in foreign trade, but carefully maneuver which imports to allow as well. The next step to improving American manufacturing is promoting the export of U.S. goods. In order to sell products, manufacturers need access to both domestic and international markets. Access to these markets requires reliable physical and telecommunications infrastructure, enforcement of fair trading rules, and targeted assistance to successfully compete in international markets. Building these infrastructures and creating these initiatives will allow Americans to increase exports and decrease imports, keeping more jobs in the country and creating the need for even more positions. Aside from preventing further outsourcing, another step that needs to be taken is encouraging businesses to bring American jobs that have been outsourced back to the United States. In order to maintain a strong economy and remain the world’s leader in innovation, we must encourage businesses to move jobs that have been outsourced in the past back to the U.S. where possible, and keep them here. When manufacturing moves overseas, innovation follows. Much like the Republicans, Democrats see the necessity of training and securing a twenty-first century workforce. American businesses can only remain competitive when they have the trained and educated workers they need, and when they have done so by modern standards. Democrats believe that America must strengthen its education and skills-training programs to make sure workers are getting the preparation and certifications they need. They hope to create programs that will ensure that all those that are trained in high-demand skills have an opportunity to find work and contribute to the economy. This will foster economic growth and hopefully create further demand for more jobs as time goes on. Women in Jobs The issue of women in the workforce has been creating controversy for quite some time. To promote workplace equality for women, the House Democrats created When Women Succeed, America Succeeds: An Economic Agenda for Women and Families. The program is “aimed at addressing the economic challenges facing women and working families.” It looks at issues such as women that receive less pay than their male counterparts, the inability to receive paid sick leave, and the lack of access to affordable high quality, affordable child care. When Women Succeed, America Succeeds combats these problems by ensuring that women receive equal pay for equal work, promoting paid sick leave and paid maternity leave, and adequately funding Head Start and implementing President Obama’s Preschool agenda, while also expanding access to affordable high quality child care and increasing the child tax credit. Democrats believe that these policies will not only make our students more competitive in school, but will also give women more opportunities to advance in the workplace and allow families to spend less on child care costs. republicanviews.org
  9. With unemployment rates at historic highs, how to create more jobs in the country is a matter of high contention. Another issue that sparks controversy is just what role the government should play in job creation. Will they help most by stepping in, or backing down? Democratic views on jobs are based around the principle that more governmental regulation and support can help create an economy where more jobs will exist and more Americans can find full-time employment. They believe in providing aid to the long-term unemployed, raising the minimum wage to help those that do have jobs make a solid living, discouraging outsourcing jobs through new tax policies, and protecting union rights and the rights of low income workers. Together, Democrats believe that these initiatives can increase employment rates and heal the American economy. Democrats and Unemployment Relief Democrats believe not only in expanding the job market, but in aiding those who are looking for work while they seek to improve their situation. The Obama administration created the American Jobs Act to help those that were unemployed during the recession. Key components of this act included payroll tax relief, tax credits for businesses that hire veterans, an extension of unemployment insurance that also included reforms like work-sharing, and support for unemployed workers looking to become entrepreneurs. It also included a “Bridge to Work” initiative, which was designed to help the long-term unemployed reconnect with the labor force. They would be able to receive retraining and therefore have an easier time getting rehired after their long period of unemployment. Minimum Wage and College Tuition Democrats believe that all Americans deserve equal opportunity to receive the education they need to pursue their career of choice, and that once they are in that career they deserve a minimum wage that will allow them to live comfortably. Therefore, Democrats seek to expand Pell Grants in able to provide financial aid to more students, letting them enter the workforce with less debt. They also strive to make college tuition tax deductible. Democrats hope to raise minimum wage to an amount that will allow anyone that is employed full time to make a living wage. In theory, Democrats hope that this will allow minimum wage employees more money to spend on items outside of the bare essentials. This will increase demand in various industries, therefore creating a need for more employees to fulfill these demands. Democrats believe that this can therefore create a self-sustaining circle of economic growth. Preventing Outsourcing Democrats, like Republicans, believe in promoting international competition within the American economy. For this reason, they believe in “fair trade agreements that raise standards for all workers here and abroad, while making American businesses more competitive.” Them more that the U.S. can compete with other global businesses, the lower the risk of job outsourcing becomes. Democrats would also like to see tax laws changed to discourage job outsourcing. Many tax laws either directly or indirectly benefit those companies that send jobs overseas. For example, some “deferral policies allow American companies to avoid paying American taxes on the income earned by their foreign subsidiaries.” Democrats hope to eradicate policies such as these to encourage employers to keep jobs in the United States. They also propose to use any savings from such a policy change to “offer tax cuts for companies that produce goods and create jobs here at home.” Workers Rights’ Democrats strongly support workers’ rights to organize. They also stand behind many of the quality of life issues that unions fight to protect, such as the forty-hour workweek, overtime requirements, the Davis-Bacon act and the Service Contract act. Democrats have fought to ensure that taxpayer money does not go to companies that violate labor laws, and that unions are supported and given the freedom to combat such problems. Democrats hope to pass a law banning permanent striker replacement workers, and to stiffen penalties for employer interference with the right to organize. These rights apply as much to women, minorities, and immigrants as much as they do to any other Americans. For this reason, Democrats strongly support the rights of these workers and their right to organize as well. Democrats and Farmers In order to ensure success for current farmers and for generations of farmers to come, Democrats believe in creating incentives for farmers to conserve soil and improve farming and forestry techniques. This will not only keep the profession of farming sustainable for future generations, but will also increase crop yields. Consequently, prices will rise, and less bailouts will be necessary. republicanviews.org
  10. Protect workers’ right to organize Gore will protect the forty-hour workweek, overtime requirements, the Davis-Bacon act and the Service Contract act. He has proposed reforming government contracting rules to ensure that taxpayer dollars do not go to companies that break basic labor laws. We are fighting for new ergonomic standards and whistle-blower protections. We need a new law banning permanent striker replacement workers. We should stiffen penalties for employer interference with the right to organize. The rights of low income workers must be protected Millions of workers will continue to labor in jobs that pay low wages. Many of these are women, people of color, or immigrants. Their work has great dignity. Democrats are committed to ensuring that these workers - no less than their counterparts in more highly-skilled, better paid positions - are treated with dignity and fairness. Democrats will strengthen safety net for family farmers Farmers should receive incentives to conserve soil and improving farming and forestry techniques. The Republican Freedom to Farm Act has resulted in years of low prices and necessitated billion dollar bailouts. It is misguided and must be changed. Family farmers who work hard and smart should be able not only to survive but to thrive. ontheissues.org
  11. A strong America begins with good jobs that support families A strong America keeps the promise of opportunity for all and heeds the warning of special privileges for none. That’s the America we believe in. George Bush values wealth over hard work, lavishes special treatment upon a fortunate few at the expense of most businesses and working people, and defends policies that weaken America’s competitive position and destroy American jobs. We believe that a strong America begins at home, with good jobs that support families and an equal chance for all our people. We believe in progress that brings prosperity for all Americans, not just for those who are already successful. We believe that good jobs will help strengthen & expand the strongest middle class the world has ever known. We believe the private sector, not government, is the engine of economic growth and job creation. Government’s responsibility is to create an environment that will promote private sector investment, foster vigorous competition, and strengthen the foundations of an innovative economy. Change tax system to not encourage shipping jobs overseas Tax reform to create jobs. Today’s tax law provides big breaks for companies that send American jobs overseas. Current “deferral” policies allow American companies to avoid paying American taxes on the income earned by their foreign subsidiaries. John Kerry and John Edwards will end deferral that encourages companies to ship jobs overseas, and they will close other loopholes to make the tax code work for the American worker. They’ll use the savings to offer tax cuts for companies that produce goods and create jobs here at home. Under John Kerry and John Edwards, 99 percent of American businesses will pay lower taxes than today. ontheissues.org
  12. Bridge to Work: help the long-term unemployed When President Obama took office, the economy was in the deepest economic crisis since the Great Depression. Just as the recession was not created overnight, we knew it would take time to recover from the crisis--and more needs to be done. Last September, President Obama put forward the American Jobs Act to provide an immediate boost to the economy and strengthen the recovery. We have already enacted key parts of the American Jobs Act--payroll tax relief, tax credits for businesses that hire veterans, and an extension of unemployment insurance that also included reforms like work-sharing, a "Bridge to Work" to help the long-term unemployed reconnect with the labor force, and support for unemployed workers looking to become entrepreneurs. But Republicans in Congress blocked other provisions that independent analysis said could create one million jobs. Create jobs that stay in America We will create jobs that stay in America and restore opportunity for all Americans, starting with raising the minimum wage, expanding Pell grants and making college tuition tax deductible. We also believe in budget discipline that reduces our deficit. Democrats believe that the most effective way to increase opportunity for our families is a high quality, good paying job. The Democratic Party supports fair trade agreements that raise standards for all workers here and abroad, while making American businesses more competitive, and we don’t believe in tax giveaways that reward companies for moving American jobs overseas. ontheissues.org
  13. Political theory There are a variety of political components to democratic education. One author identifies those elements as inclusivity and rights, equal participation in decision-making, and equal encouragement for success. The Institute for Democratic Education's principles of democratic education identifies several political principles, The interaction between democratic philosophy and education, Pluralistic education, School administration by means of democratic procedures, Education based on respect for human rights, Dialogic evaluation, Dialogic relationships, and Critical social thinking. Effect on quality of education The type of political socialization that takes place in democratic schools is strongly related to deliberative democracy theory. Claus Offe and Ulrich Preuss, two theorists of the political culture of deliberative democracies argue that in its cultural production deliberative democracy requires “an open-ended and continuous learning process in which the roles of both ‘teacher’ and ‘curriculum’ are missing. In other words, what is to be learned is a matter that we must settle in the process of learning itself." The political culture of a deliberative democracy and its institutions, they argue, would facilitate more “dialogical forms of making one’s voice heard” which would “be achieved within a framework of liberty, within which paternalism is replaced by autonomously adopted self-paternalism, and technocratic elitism by the competent and self-conscious judgment of citizens." As a curricular, administrative and social operation within schools, democratic education is essentially concerned with equipping people to make "real choices about fundamental aspects of their lives" and happens within and for democracy. It can be "a process where teachers and students work collaboratively to reconstruct curriculum to include everyone." In at least one conception, democratic education teaches students "to participate in consciously reproducing their society, and conscious social reproduction." This role necessitates democratic education happening in a variety of settings and being taught by a variety of people, including "parents, teachers, public officials, and ordinary citizens." Because of this "democratic education begins not only with children who are to be taught but also with citizens who are to be their teachers." Preparation for life in a democracy The "strongest, political rationale" for democratic education is that it teaches "the virtues of democratic deliberation for the sake of future citizenship." This type of education is often alluded to in the deliberative democracy literature as fulfilling the necessary and fundamental social and institutional changes necessary to develop a democracy that involves intensive participation in group decision making, negotiation, and social life of consequence. Civic education The concept of the hidden curriculum includes the belief that anything taught in an authoritarian setting is implicitly teaching authoritarianism. Thus civic education, if taught in a compulsory setting, undermines its own lessons in democracy. A common belief in democratic schools is that democracy must be experienced to be learned. This argument conforms to the cognition-in-context research by Lave. Another common belief, which supports the practice of compulsory classes in civic education, is that passing on democratic values requires an imposed structure. Arguments about how to transmit democracy, and how much and how early to treat children democratically, are made in various literatures concerning student voice, youth participation and other elements of youth empowerment. Standard progressive visions of education as collaboration tend to downplay the workings of power in society. If learners are to "develop a democracy," some scholars have argued, they must be provided the tools for transforming the non-democratic aspects of a society. Democracy in this sense involves not just "participation in decision making," a vision ascribed especially to Dewey, but the ability to confront power with solidarity. Economic theory Core features of democratic education align with the emerging consensus on 21st century business and management priorities. Such features include increased collaboration, decentralized organization, and radical creativity. wikipedia.org
  14. “Democrats know that every child, no matter who they are, how much their families earn, or where they live, should have access to a high-quality education, from preschool through high school and beyond. ” DEMOCRATIC PARTY PLATFORM Democrats believe all children should be able to lead happy, successful lives. That’s why we’re dedicated to ensuring the next generation has access to a quality education and the tools to drive our economy forward. Our country is strongest when our workers are trained with the knowledge and ingenuity to perform at the highest levels. Every child should have the opportunity to reach that horizon and to fulfill the American Dream. Democrats have long valued education as the key to success, both for individuals and for our nation. In 1944, Democratic President Franklin Roosevelt enacted the G.I. Bill, a landmark piece of legislation that provided World War II veterans with opportunities for higher education. The G.I. Bill helped create the modern middle class in America. And in 1965, Lyndon B. Johnson and a Democratic Congress enacted the Elementary and Secondary Education Act with the goal of providing a quality education to every child. In recent years, Democrats have further increased access to higher education, restructured and dramatically expanded college financial aid — while making federal programs simpler, more reliable, and more efficient for students. In 2010, President Obama signed into law student loan reform that cut out the role of big banks. The Obama administration also doubled our investment in Pell Grants and made it easier for students to pay back student loans. As Donald Trump and Betsy DeVos attempt to roll back the progress we’ve made on education by stripping protections for students and student loan borrowers, we’ll keep fighting to elect Democrats who will advocate for education. Democrats want every child – no matter their ZIP code – to have access to a quality public K-12 education, and for college to be affordable for every American. We know that as the global marketplace grows more competitive, we need to expand opportunities for higher education and job training. Democrats are committed to increasing the college-completion rate as well as the share of students who are prepared for budding industries with specific job-related skills. Democrats recognize education as the most pressing economic issue in America’s future, and we cannot allow our country to fall behind in a global economy. We must prepare the next generation for success in college and the workforce. democrats.org
  15. Home Schooling and School Choice Republicans support school-choice initiatives, because they give parents more control over their children’s education. For the same reason, they support home schooling. Support of school choice also includes support for learning options such as same-sex schools, full day school hours, and year-round schools, charter schools, and virtual schools. Giving these options at a K-12 level allows a child to get the best education for them, and will inevitably increase their chances of success in higher education. Republicans are adamant supporters of the enforcement of laws designed to protect family rights in education, as well as privacy in education. Republicans also support voluntary prayer in public schools, and opposes the Supreme Court’s ruling against it. There is republican legislation in place that guarantees equal access to school facilities by religious groups, and the party will work to guarantee that it is enforced. No Child Left Behind Perhaps one of the best known educational reforms led by a republican is the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, enacted by President George W. Bush. It supported standards-based educational reform, setting measurable goals and higher standards for schools to help improve educational outcomes for individual students. It required states to develop assessments for certain skills, as a way to measure school’s progress each year. In order to receive federal funding, a state must give students in select grades these assessments. Each state was left to set its own achievement standard, one was not set at a federal level. In opposition to general republican views, the act increased federal involvement in schools, as the annual testing, annual academic progress, report cards, teacher qualifications, and funding changes all now had involvement at the federal level. The Secretary of Education had the authority to waive various provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act, but it was the perception of many that Secretary of Education Arne Duncan was using this as a tool to force states to adopt the Obama administration’s agenda for education. This will hopefully be ended by the Student Success Act, which cut out many of the provisions states were seeking to have waived. Student Success Act In July of 2013, the Student Success Act was passed as a revamp of the No Child Left Behind Act. It required states collecting federal funds to regularly assess students, and report results. It contained a section that prohibited federal officials from mandating that states adopt the Common Core Curriculum, and included a section to allow Title I funds for low income students to follow them to the public school of their choice. Overall, it consolidated or got rid of over 70 programs. Mitt Romney on Education Mitt Romney believes that the educational system, while fundamental to the American dream, has been hindered significantly by neglect from the federal government. He also stands behind the republican idea that federal loans are driving up the costs of higher education, and making it less accessible to Americans. He believes in widespread educational reform, and also in merit-based pay for teachers. He also wishes to see an expansion of parental involvement in the education system. He believes having smaller classroom sizes could also have a positive impact on education in general, at all levels. As a governor who had to enforce the first wave of No Child Left Behind, Romney supported the reforms the act brought. Many in his state opposed the testing requirements for graduation, but Romney enforced them despite the opposition. He believes it made a positive impact on his state’s education. Romney stated “With school choice, testing our kids, giving our best teachers opportunities for advancement, these kinds of principles drove our schools to be pretty successful. As a matter of fact, there are four measures on which the federal government looks at schools state by state, and my state’s number one of all 50 stays in all four of those measures, fourth-and-eighth-graders in English and math. Those principles, testing our kids, excellent curriculum, superb teachers, and school choice, those are the answers to help our schools.“ republicanviews.org
  16. The Republican Party believes in doing away entirely with federal loans. College tuition, and its consequential debt, is rising uncontrollably. At this point, it is rising far above the rate of inflation. College debt in America, as of 2012, had exceeded the amount of credit card debt. Republicans believe federal loans exacerbate this problem by their lack of transparency, and the fact that they are often more expensive than private loans. For these reasons, republicans believe that the federal government should no longer issue student loans. Greater private sector participation in loans would drive tuition costs down. The party believes that the federal government should, however, serve as an insurance guarantor for private sector loans. Aside from limiting its role in loans, republicans also seek to further limit the federal government’s role in education. In fact, there are some Republicans who believe in doing away with the Department of Education entirely. The Republican Party prerogatives on reducing federal involvement in education were outlined in a set of education reforms proposed by George Bush in 2000. Republicans proposed to shrink federal programs into five grants, allow federal money to be used at the school of a child’s choice, expand school choice by increasing the number of charter schools available, expand education savings accounts, let children in dangerous schools transfer to safer schools which will prosecute offenders, and ensure that all children learn to read by reforming Head Start, as well as by facilitating state reading initiatives. These efforts, republicans believe, will put children’s education less into the hands of the government, and more into the hands of parents and teachers, who have a better first-hand view of what is best for each individual child. They do not believe in a one-size-fits-all approach to education, but rather an approach that is personalized by those closest to the child for the child. The Republican Party disagrees with an approach to education reforms that involves simply throwing money at the problem. The United States spends an average of $10,000 a year per pupil in public schools, which totals about $550 billion. Obviously funding cannot fix the problems in our educational system. Throwing money at the problem will not work. What does work, republicans believe, is accountability on the part of administrators, parents, and teachers (through merit pay for teachers, which increases both motivation and accountability to do a good job), programs that develop the character and financial literacy of students, rigorous assessments of students’ abilities in fundamental areas of learning, and schools that have the flexibility and freedom to adapt to the needs of their students. Focusing on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) subjects, and proper implementation of technology in the classroom. They believe that educational reforms at the state level tend to be far more based on proven success than those at the federal level, and therefore support these initiatives over federal reform. They believe that Republican governors have led the country’s education initiatives over the last few years, and applaud their efforts, as well as encourage others to follow them. republicanviews.org
  17. Republican views on education involve a variety of overarching ideas. First, republicans believe in a restructuring of higher education, which would leave more students equipped for their desired fields and less working minimum wage jobs that are irrelevant to their education. Next, they believe in limiting the federal government in education. This includes getting rid of federal student loans, and having only private loans. Republicans also support school choice and home schooling programs. Overall, Republicans believe strongly in an educational system that will provide higher education to those whose achievements deserve it, and that will give students the environment they want and need to succeed both in and beyond higher education. Republicans also support initiatives that increase benefits to students who are taking more difficult courses, form partnerships with colleges and universities in an effort to improve science and math programs, and attract math, science, and engineering students to attend lower-income schools. Republicans support abstinence education when it comes to sex-education, believing this is the only sure way of preventing unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. They believe all family planning education programs should be replaced with abstinence programs. Republicans also believe in an “English First” approach to education, believing programs that divide students whose first language is not English prevents them from becoming accustomed to mainstream American classrooms and culture, and therefore limits their ability to advance in society. Most of all, republicans believe that a students educational opportunities need to depend on their talent and motivation as a student, and not where they live or their income level. Restructuring Higher Education The 2012 Republican Party Platform states that republicans support getting “back to the basics” of education, and better preparing students to do what it is they are seeking a career in. At this time, 50% of recent college graduates were either unemployed, or working jobs that were not in their field and for which their educations had provided them no training. The party believes that this signifies that our current higher educational system is in great need of reform, as it is not providing students with the opportunities they are pursuing. Republicans believe that expanding community college programs, technical institutions, private training schools, online universities, life-long learning, and work-based learning in the private sector, to create competition for four-year schools, is a good way to not only make worthwhile education more accessible now, but to motivate four-year schools to match these alternatives’ costs and levels of job-preparedness. They also believe that public policy should address these alternatives, and both support them and make them accessible to all. Another initiative that republicans support to better higher education is to increase access to higher education savings accounts. This will make it easier for any child to attend a higher education program, whether they choose a four-year school or an alternative program. Republicans recognize that many higher education problems arise from poor preparation at the lower educational levels, and therefore support state-led initiatives to improve K-12 schooling. republicanviews.org
  18. Hillary Clinton on Education Hillary Clinton believes in educational reform. She believes that parents are a child’s first teachers, and that “we’ve got to do more to give families the tools and the support that they should have so that they can be the best parents.” She is a proponent of school-based merit pay. She sees this as a way to get more teachers into hard-to-serve areas. She states, “The school is a team, and it’s important that we reward that collaboration. A child who moves from kindergarten to sixth grade in the same school, every one of those teachers is going to affect that child. You need to weed out the teachers not doing a good job. That’s the bottom line. They should not be teaching our children.” Barack Obama on Education President Obama believes strongly in educational reform. He has stated, “If we want America to lead in the 21st century, nothing is more important than giving everyone the best education possible — from the day they start preschool to the day they start their career.” He has expanded support to help more students be able to afford college. He has also called for a shared responsibility in tackling rising costs. He hopes to see every American student given a good chance at graduating high school, college, and being properly prepared for a career. He believes that because a college degree seems to be a prerequisite for 21st century jobs, it should be something everyone can afford. He also believes in creating systems to support and reward excellent teachers. republicanviews.org
  19. One educational program that caused a great deal of controversy between parties is President Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act. In the 2004 Democratic Party platform the Democrats spoke out against the Bush administration, saying, “For this White House, education is an easy promise – easy come, and easy go. When President Bush signed the No Child Left Behind Act, he said the right things – asking more from our schools and pledging to give them the resources to get the job done. And then he promptly broke his word, providing schools $27 billion less than he had promised, literally leaving millions of children behind. The President also gets a failing grade for higher education. Over the last three years, college tuitions have risen by 35 percent, pricing 220,000 students out of college. Yet while then- Governor Bush promised to increase college aid, President Bush tried to charge more for student loans and eliminate Pell Grants for 84,000 students.” In terms of education as a whole, the parties are also greatly critical of each other’s educational ideals. Republicans support vouchers for private schools while the Democrats see them as wasteful. Republicans believe that the resources provided could create a successful educational system if the proper systems of accountability are put in place, while Democrats believe that the resources being provided need to be increased. republicanviews.org
  20. The Democratic Party is dedicated to reforming the educational system in the United States. Democratic views on education include tax benefits and reformed financial aid programs for college tuition, saving and creating more teaching jobs, expand education options for low-income youth, and revamping standardized testing to test more complex skills. Democrats on Public Schools Democrats hope to turn around the public school system and make it more successful and sustainable. They hope to expand public school options for low-income children by creating and maintaining more magnet schools, charter schools, teacher-led schools, and career academies. They also hope to increase the number of teachers and the respect that teachers receive, to improve the quality of instruction that kids are receiving. In their 2012 platform, Democrats stated, “Because there is no substitute for a great teacher at the head of a classroom, the President helped school districts save more than 400,000 educator jobs. We Democrats honor our nation’s teachers. If we want high-quality education for all our kids, we must listen to the people who are on the front lines. The President has laid out a plan to prevent more teacher layoffs while attracting and rewarding great teachers. This includes raising standards for the programs that prepare our teachers, recognizing and rewarding good teaching, and retaining good teachers. We also believe in carefully crafted evaluation systems that give struggling teachers a chance to succeed and protect due process.” Democrats on School Choice The Democratic Party supports public school choice, including charter schools and magnet schools that meet the same high standards as other schools. They believe that the alternative of pushing private school vouchers takes dollars away from public schools, making school choice the far better option. They hope to build new schools and provide them with the technology and equipment for a modern education to fulfill this goal. Democrats on Higher Education The Democratic Party hopes to see college within the reach of every student. They took on banks to reform the student loan program and cut out the middleman in student lending, allowing them to “better and more directly invest in students.” They also doubled the investment in Pell Grant scholarships and created the American Opportunity Tax Credit. Democrats believe that these financial moves will make college more accessible to children from lower-income families. They also hope to create programs that will allow students to manage their federal student loans so that their payment is as low ass 10 percent of their monthly income. The 2012 Democratic Platform stated, “We Democrats also recognize the economic opportunities created by our nation’s community colleges. That is why the President has invested in community colleges and called for additional partnerships between businesses and community colleges to train two million workers with the skills they need for good jobs waiting to be filled.” Furthermore, the Democratic Party would like to see federal loan interest rates reduced greatly. Democrats on Standardized Testing Democrats hope to use standardized testing to advance education, but in a different way than they’re being used now. They believe the current form of standardized testing advances bureaucracy more than it advances education, and hope to “use testing to advance real learning, not undermine it, by developing high-quality assessments that measure the complex skills students need to develop. We will make sure that federal law operates with high standards and common sense, not just bureaucratic rigidity.” republicanviews.org
  21. The GOP has come around to Trump. As my colleague McKay Coppins wrote, “Trump’s conquest of the Republican Party is complete, and the former ‘fringe’ has become so thoroughly intertwined with the ‘establishment’ that the two are virtually indistinguishable.” The growing diploma divide is less a result of non-college-educated white voters becoming Republicans, and more of college-educated white voters finding that they can’t fully support the party anymore. “What's happened since 2016 is that the low-educated whites have kind of plateaued in their support for the Republicans,” Tesler says. “But you've seen this trend increase [of] high-educated whites [moving] towards the Democrats.” Smith told me that from 2015 to 2017, the Weidenbaum Center at Washington University in St. Louis conducted a monthly panel survey—where the same statistically significant number of people are interviewed each month—that cataloged Republican attitudes toward Republican candidates. Over time, those who supported Ted Cruz, who called Trump a “sniveling coward” during the campaign, and those who supported Marco Rubio, who called him a “con man,” tended to come around to Trump. But the voters that stand out, Smith said, are those who initially supported John Kasich. “They, in many instances, agree with Trump on policy issues, but the best data indicates that they are uncomfortable with him personally,” he said. “There are key aspects of his rhetorical style, of his governing style, that they don't like.” Kasich has been on a crusade in recent weeks combatting the Republican rhetoric around the migrant caravan. “The Lord doesn’t want” America to build walls around around itself, he told CNN. And that wasn’t the first time he’d expressed concern about the state of the Republican party, and its rhetoric, as it has inched closer and closer to Trump. “If the party can't be fixed,” Kasich told Jake Tapper in October 2017, “then I’m not going to be able to support the party. Period. That's the end of it.” Jones argues that the logic is simple. “The risk that the Republican Party runs by becoming the party that’s opposed to immigration, that’s worried about the country becoming more diverse,” he said, “is that they will turn off college-educated whites.” But the consequences of the diploma divide are not just evident in the demographics on Election Day. Hidden in that gap is a threat to higher education itself. Last year, Pew issued a sobering survey. “Republicans have soured on higher education,” the survey declared, and it threw people into a frenzy. Sixty-seven percent of Republicans, the survey found, had “some” to “little” confidence in colleges as institutions. A number of factors contribute to this distrust, the rising cost of tuition and the perception of a liberal bent at colleges among them. And if one major party believes that higher education is an engine of liberal indoctrination, and that party’s voters are increasingly likely not to have attended college, the political benefits of an anti–higher education stance are obvious. That puts the budget lines for public colleges, in particular, at risk. Decades of funding cuts by state governments have already hit the institutions hard. And these cuts, in turn, have driven an increase in tuition costs and more animosity toward higher education. As Michael Grunwald recently wrote in Politico, “The next big Republican culture war will be a war on college.” As the Republican party continues to cozy up to Trump, whose political career began by questioning the legitimacy of the first black president, and who rests his laurels on hostile anti-immigrant sentiments, more moderate Republicans—who, often, are college educated—will likely continue to flee. And the GOP will have even less of a reason to try to cater to the college set, or to embrace higher education–friendly policies. The diploma divide is wide, and the closer Republicans embrace Trump, the wider it may get. theatlantic.com
  22. In the 2016 election, 48 percent of college-educated white voters voted for Trump, compared with 66 percent of non-college-educated white voters. A Marist poll in October of this year found that 55 percent of non-college-educated white voters approved of the job Trump was doing, compared with just 39 percent of college-educated white voters. When Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh squeaked through a Senate confirmation hearing with a sexual assault allegation in tow, 54 percent of non-college-educated white voters supported him, compared with 38 percent who had gone to college. And the partisan diploma divide held steady last night, reflecting a divide in values between those with degrees and those without. There’s a question that splits Americans neatly in two. Every year, on its American Values Survey, the Public Religion Research Institute asks Americans whether they “think American culture and way of life has mostly changed for the better, or has it mostly changed for the worse,” since the 1950s. Fifty percent of Americans say that it’s gotten better in this year’s poll, and 47 percent say that it has gotten worse. But for white voters, the answer to that question is split by education level. Fifty-eight percent of college-educated whites this year say that America has gotten better since 1950, while 57 percent of non-college-educated whites say that it’s gotten worse. When President Trump says “Make America great again,” the again is instructive. He’s capitalizing on the nostalgia that non-college-educated white voters have for America’s past. “That harkening back to a supposed golden age where things were better has a really, really strong appeal for whites without a college degree,” Jones said. That nostalgia, however, is for a time when black Americans and other minority groups had significantly fewer civil rights. And a Republican rhetoric that centers a longing for an era of white prosperity, rife with racist violence against black people, is why it’s impossible to understand the diploma divide without accounting for racial resentment. Needless to say, black Americans and other minority groups aren’t as keen on returning to the past. When researchers control for voter attitudes on race in addition to white voters’ education level, Tesler says, the diploma divide disappears. No other factor, he says, explains the education gap as well—not economic anxiety, ideology, income, or gender. David N. Smith, a professor at the University of Kansas, came to a similar conclusion when he and Eric Hanley took a dive into the 2016 American National Election Survey. They found that demographic data such as education are important predictors of which party someone votes for. But “when you bring the attitudes variables into account as well, what emerges is that attitudes loom even larger than demographics,” he told me. Here’s how he put it: If you look at white people who voted for Trump—both those with college degrees and those without—and identify everybody with a high level of resentment toward minorities, women, and Muslims, as well as those who want an arrogant, assertive leader, there’s almost no one left. The vast majority of Trump voters share those sentiments, the researchers found, regardless of education level. theatlantic.com
  23. This split was relatively stable for decades and then, steadily, it began to change. “The shift in whites without a college degree away from the Democratic Party begins as the Democratic Party becomes identified as the party of civil rights,” starting in the 1960s, Robert P. Jones, the CEO of the Public Religion Research Institute, told me. Disaffected white southern Democrats, in particular, fled in droves. Party realignment doesn't happen overnight. Just because some voters swing across the aisle in one election doesn't mean they’ll quit the party they've identified with their entire lives. Still, strong support for the Democrats among whites without a college degree, borne out of economic incentives—and racial resentment—began to wane. In their book, The Rise of Southern Republicans, the scholars Merle Black and Earl Black call this shift the “Great White Switch.” From the mid-1990s to 2008, the diploma divide was small, if not negligible. Even though the Democrats had become the party of civil rights and a broad, multicultural coalition, they were also still the party of unions, which were largely made up of non-degree-holding whites. Therefore, white people with and without college degrees were equally as likely to be Democrats or Republicans. But in 2008, the election of Barack Obama, a black man, signaled that the Democrats were becoming the party of progressive racial politics. “Obama’s presidency simplifies the politics of race,” Michael Tesler, an associate professor of political science at UC Irvine, says. “If you were a low-educated white, you were much more likely to know about the partisan differences on race [after Obama] than you were before.” That change didn’t show up in the party-affiliation data right away, but that’s common, Tesler says. It often takes more than one election for people to switch their party identification. But by 2012, white voters without a college degree were distinctly more likely to vote Republican than those with college degrees. theatlantic.com
  24. Last week
  25. One of the most striking patterns in yesterday’s election was years in the making: a major partisan divide between white voters with a college degree and those without one. According to exit polls, 61 percent of non-college-educated white voters cast their ballots for Republicans while just 45 percent of college-educated white voters did so. Meanwhile 53 percent of college-educated white voters cast their votes for Democrats compared with 37 percent of those without a degree. The diploma divide, as it’s often called, is not occurring across the electorate; it is primarily a phenomenon among white voters. It’s an unprecedented divide, and is in fact a complete departure from the diploma divide of the past. Non-college-educated white voters used to solidly belong to Democrats, and college-educated white voters to Republicans. Several events over the past six decades have caused these allegiances to switch, the most recent being the candidacy, election, and presidency of Donald Trump. Last results confirm that the diploma divide is likely here to stay—especially if the GOP maintains its alignment with Trump and the nationalist, anti-immigrant sentiments he hangs his hat on. The gap is likely to be one of the most powerful forces shaping American politics for decades to come. The democratic and republican Parties looked a lot different in 1952, when the American National Election Studies—surveys of voters conducted before and after presidential elections—were in their infancy. The Republicans, to some extent, were still regarded as the party of Lincoln, even though they had shifted their focus to courting southern white voters, causing black people to leave the party. Meanwhile, the Democrats were the party of a coalition that pushed for social services—the party of the New Deal. There were far fewer college-educated Americans at the time, but the white Americans who did have degrees tended to vote Republican, and those who didn't sided with the Democrats by a significant margin. theatlantic.com
  26. Part of the reason the U.S. tax code is so complex is the bewildering thicket of tax breaks and deductions added by lawmakers over the years. The largest of those, according to the Pew Research Center, is the exemption for employer-paid health care and health insurance, which totals well over $150 billion a year. Other major tax expenditures include lower rates on income from capital gains, exemptions for retirement contributions, and the beloved mortgage interest deduction, which costs the government nearly $64 billion a year. washingtonpost.com
  27. Taxes in the United States, at all levels of government, make up a smaller share of national gross domestic product than in nearly any other of the rich countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). In 2015, for instance, total tax revenue in the United States amounted to just 26.4 percent of GDP, well below the OECD average of 34.3 percent. Only Korea, Ireland, Chile and Mexico collected less tax as a share of GDP. In countries like Denmark, France and Belgium, by contrast, tax receipts add up to well over 40 percent of GDP. Those countries tend to provide much more robust social safety nets than the United States does. washingtonpost.com
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