Karen R. Effrem, MD - Executive Director
The three Republican candidates to replace outgoing constitutional conservative Congressman Curt Clawson in District 19 - former Secret Service agent Dan Bongino, Sanibel Councilman Chauncey Goss, and millionaire businessman Francis Rooney participated in a recent forum in Naples. From this account, federal early childhood and social programs was the only education issue among many important issues discussed. Here is an excerpt from the Naples Daily News. As for domestic policy, Rooney stood apart from his opponents, saying he supported giving federal support to families with young children because "early learning is very important to a child's development."To accomplish this, Rooney proposed an overhaul of welfare to figure out how to put "some of the money we're spending and wasting into preparing our children to be nurtured and learned."But Bongino countered."The federal government, tragically, has no answer here. We have literally spent, not figuratively, tens of trillions of dollars in anti-poverty programs, and the percentage of Americans living in poverty has not moved a hair. Maybe a hair, we'll give them a hair," he said.Goss said he didn't support increasing funding for families with young children because the country already is a "nanny state as it is" that has developed a "culture of dependency."
As well-intentioned as Rooney's idea may be, it is quite concerning. Bongino is absolutely correct about the failure of federal social programs in general despite trillions of dollars spent. And Goss' statemenst about these engendering "a nanny state" and "a culture of dependence" are also spot-on.Specifically, there are more than two dozen studies about federal and state early childhood programs show one or more of four different possibilities: 1) Little or no benefit 2) Fade out of beneficial effect 3) Academic harm 4) Emotional harm. Even center and center left think tanks are starting to admit this. Read more
The Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) is once again taking sides in contested Republican primaries. After intervening in the special congressional election primary in CD 19 trying to hide behind multiple donations and many super PACs to make sure that Senator Benacquisto received at least $300,000, now they have openly donated another $130,000 to her senate campaign. Benacquisto is running against Dr. Michael Dreikorn, a conservative veteran and aerospace engineer, who also was in the congressional primary. That congressional primary was notable for the high level of negative campaigning by super PACs tied to Benacquisto and another candidate, Dr. Paige Kreegel. Ultimately, Curt Clawson went on to win both the primary and the congressional seat in large part due to his sincere articulate position on Common Core, his dedication to the Constitution, his outsider status, and likely as well, as a backlash to the negative campaigning and interference from outside groups in this race.Former Congressman Gary Lee, who is now serving as committeeman for the Republican Party of Florida expressed concerns about the situation by saying, "If you're doing something that has the perception of not being fair to all candidates then that needs to be addressed in my opinion." Neither Benacquisto nor the RPOF commented on the donations.If the congressional primary is any indication, this kind of behavior on the part of the RPOF, with its strong ties to Jeb Bush, may backfire on the RPOF and Benacquisto. It is imperative that everyone in all the races for school board and state legislature do their homework on this critical issue and support the candidates that have answered the four important questions on Common Core to your satisfaction. Read more
Of the five candidates that are running in the August 26th primary to take on Democrat Congressman Joe Garcia in Congressional District 26 that runs from Miami to Key West, only Miami-Dade School Board member Carlos Curbelo supports Common Core. And according to his op-ed in the Miami Herald, he supports it in a big way.In that piece, he used all of the typical pro-Common Core talking points while demonizing the experts and parents that have brought up many legitimate concerns. Here are a couple of the more egregious points: "However, in order to win debates, and more important, elections, conservatives must brandish facts while ignoring scare tactics that yield irrational paranoia. Skepticism should not devolve into callousness, stubbornness, and the rejection of government in all its manifestations. Ours should be the belief that a limited and responsible government can contribute to the advancement of our nation and its people, and nowhere is that fact more evident or more critical than in the area of education. That is why we should support the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for K-12 education."
Translation Government overreach is bad, just not in education. Curbelo is apparently unaware that the RNC; the National Federation of Republican Women; multiple committees within the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF); nearly 30 Republican Executive Committees (RECs) in Florida; and almost all of the potential Republican presidential candidates except for Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, and Mike Huckabee; have all rejected Common Core. Would he say that any of these people are irrationally paranoid? Miami activist Maria Peiro put it well in the comments for this piece: "The Conservative thing to do is to NOT give up the state and local control over the education of our children. The best form of government is that which is closest to the people. To centralize curriculum and testing and put it in the hands of a few is a huge mistake for which Read more