Heather L. Barmore
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    Change In Action at Babble Voices


    Where Do the 2012 Candidates Stand on Education

    One thing that all of the 2012 Presidential contenders can agree upon is that the United States needs to be the strong superpower it once was. While we remain among the elite of the elite, certain dynamics and changes within our fiscal climate cannot and have not been ignored. Over the past several debates the issues of deficit, national security and jobs have come up but one thing rare has been mentioned and that is education. Or when the subject is discussed the consensus among several candidates is that the US Department of Education needs to be dismantled and states need to regain local control of their education system. To which I ask "Ok, so get rid of US Ed and then what? How do we guarantee that the children from the most poverty stricken areas are sufficiently educated? Or are we turning education into survival of the fittest?" In order for the US to thrive we need to have great education; it's really that simple. Education leads to smarter citizens, which leads to stronger societies and to see several contenders (and moderators of these debates) take it so lightly is alarming to say the least.

    With that; here is where the 2012 Presidential contenders stand on the issue of education:

    President Barack Obama: “Providing a high-quality education for all children is critical to   America’s economic future.   Our nation’s economic competitiveness and the path to the American Dream depend on providing every child with an education that will enable them to succeed in a global economy that is predicated on knowledge and innovation. President Obama is committed to providing every child access to a complete and competitive education, from cradle through career.”

    More here http://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/education



    Congresswoman Michele Bachmann: N/A Education is not listed as a priority or an issue on her campaign website

    Businessman Herman Cain: Unbundle Education

    “Unfortunately, education has become weighed down with administration that has shifted the focus from educating students to maintaining an excessive level of bureaucracy through expanded unionization and regulation. It’s time to unbundle education from the federal government down to the local level.”

    “A critical component of improving education in our country is to decentralize the federal government’s control over it. Children are best served when the teachers, parents and principals are making the day-to-day decisions, coupled with the leadership of local municipalities, school boards and states.”

    “Another way we can put kids first is to offer school choice as a real option for educational competition. This means expanding school vouchers and charter schools.”

    More here http://www.hermancain.com/the-issues

    Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich: N/A not listed on his website

    Ambassador Jon Huntsman: N/A not listed on his website

    Congressman Ron Paul: Homeschooling

    “And the truth is, no big government spending program can or will solve our nation’s education problems. One-size-fits-all central planning simply does not work. As a congressman, Ron Paul has been a consistent supporter of homeschooling and educational freedom.”

    “That’s why, during his time in Congress, Ron Paul has introduced legislation to:
    * Help parents better educate their children by providing parents with a $5,000 per child tax credit for tutors, books, computers, and other K-12 related educational needs.”

    “Congressman Paul wants parents to have the freedom to choose the best educational options for their children, and his commitment to ensuring homeschooling remains a practical alternative for American families is unmatched by any other Presidential candidate.”

    More here http://www.ronpaul2012.com/the-issues/homeschooling/

    Governor Rick Perry: N/A not listed on his campaign website

    Governor Mitt Romney: N/A not listed on his campaign website

    Former Senator Rick Santorum: “As a member of the United States Senate, Rick fought for the passage of the Individuals with Disability Education Act (IDEA), and the “Combating Autism Act” to fight this devastating disease that is affecting more and more of our nation’s children.”




    Let's say you're a parent and a voter: What do you want to hear from these contenders on the future of education? Something that inevitably relates to the future of this nation.

    How They Got Off the Sidelines

    Over the summer I attended an event with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and I spent a solid 10 minutes gushing to her (and her staff) about how much I loved the premise of Off the Sidelines and I couldn’t wait to get involved. Let’s just say that I am a true believer on getting women off the sidelines and into politics. During a moment of our exchange - and this is why I am a huge Senator Gillibrand fan because she’s a Senator who speaks to people like she isn’t above them as some politicians are wont to do - she said to me “You’re sick of being the only woman in the room, right? Because it totally sucks”.

    Yes, Senator, it does.

    Simone L. Ward, Vice President of Public Affairs for Planned Parenthood’s story of getting off the sidelines (full disclosure Simone is former colleague of mine and I adore her just a bit)

    New York State Senator Diane Savino’s story on becoming an accidental politician


    How the CNN Tea Party Debate Scared the Ever-Loving Crap Out of Me

    Via Politico http://www.politico.com/

    Yesterday morning a colleague said that he was going to text me Monday night during the now infamous Gardasil Debate of 2011 but he wasn’t sure if I was awake and thought he might be disturbing me. Little did he know that I was already disturbed beyond belief and wide awake thinking that should one of these eight GOP contenders become President (well, all except for Jon Huntsman) then how would I and could I possibly flee the country. It becomes a very real possibility when all of the candidates did a Perry pile-on. The man who formerly proposed that his state of Texas secede from the union wants to now be President of the entire country. Oh, the irony of it all.

    I watch these debates in part to learn more about the ‘enemy’ but also because I enjoy being informed even if the process is maddening. Monday’s debate - the second in four days - was infuriating but at least now I know. I tell myself that knowledge is power as I listen to Tea Party audience members whoop and holler for the death of a coma patient who doesn’t have health-insurance. It’s disturbing, at least for me, but then again as someone on Twitter so brilliantly pointed out these debates aren’t ‘for liberals’ they’re for Republicans and their grassroots activists. So I sit back and watch while my toes curl in disbelief.

    Some of my favorite moments - all in jest of course because if I were to point out the severity and my genuine shock of what was said well, I’d question how Montreal would feel about having me as a citizen. And please - and I mean this genuinely - if you do agree with points that the candidates made, feel free to share and enlighten me.:

    1) Michele Bachman is definitely still around. Even better she hates vaccines or is unaware of the exact purpose of vaccinations. The definition of vaccine according to Merriam-Webster: a preparation of killed microorganisms, living attenuated organisms, or living fully virulent organisms that is administered to produce or artificially increase immunity to a particular disease.

    The Gardasil vaccine that she is so virulently against - and I will say that no one should be forced into inoculation but one (a parent) should also be aware of the deep consequences of not vaccinating their child. But that is also a different discussion and a bunch of moms are now giving me the evil eye. The point is that I think she is mistaken as to the purpose of a vaccine against HPV which is what Gardasil is. She ended up coming across as a woman who would totally be down with Measles, Mumps and Rubella making a comeback.

    2) That fucking fence to keep the brown people (from Mexico) out came up again. Apparently this is a good idea but the best part is the entire conversation against “illegal aliens” then less then five minutes later the candidates were asked how they plan to court the Latino vote. So..wait a minute: You’re going to keep a large population of Latinos out and/or insult them horribly by referring to them as illegal aliens and then you’re going to try and get them to vote for you? Again with the irony and head scratching on my part because really? I mean REALLY? At least Rick Perry had a Texas-sized DREAM Act to fall back on and the rest piled on because why should we allow these children of immigrants to get an education? How dare they?!

    3) Another word where the candidates seem to be unaware of the definition would be ‘treason’. Back to Merriam-Webster for the definition: 1: the betrayal of a trust 2 : the offense of attempting by overt acts to overthrow the government of the state to which the offender owes allegiance or to kill or personally injure the sovereign or the sovereign's family

    My memory isn’t what it used to be but I don’t remember Ben Bernanke selling nuclear secrets to North Korea regardless, all eight candidates thought that Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve should be tried for treason. TREASON. Like he’s Benedict Arnold or some such BS.

    I’ve run out of words for that nonsense save for; don’t any of these candidates own a dictionary? Or have access to Google?

    4) Rick Perry is so adorable. He thinks that he deserves accolades and credit for creating jobs in Texas and then goes on to tell his base how gosh darn awful President Obama’s stimulus programs were. According to Governor Perry the stimulus didn’t create and/or save jobs. How much trouble will I get in for referring to him as a lying liar? Ok..I’ll say that he is clearly getting information on job creation in his state from an unreliable source. Immediately after Perry’s statement on how terrible stimulus was and how he’s the Texan wonder for creating all those jobs, PoliFact showed that no, stimulus helped to save and/or create the jobs he’s now taken credit for saving. Oy.

    5) Jon Huntsman who? No, really, where was Ambassador Huntsman in all of this? Poor guy has one foot in the grave when it comes to this election and it really is a shame.

    I tend to be facetious in times like this because I cannot allow my brain to wrap around this amount of absurdity. Conservatives will of course say that by agreeing with any of President Obama’s policies I, too, am absurd and in need of a lobotomy. That might be true but I will and always have looked at all candidates to find out where we agree and disagree. I only wish to see more of that from the Tea Party.

    Did you watch Monday night’s debate? What did you think?


    The Fix: The Florida Republican Debate: What We Learned

    Roland S. Martin: Best of the CNN Tea Party Debate (Video)

    Rolling Stone: GOP Tea Party Debate: Highlights and Lowlights

    Big Journalism: CNN Shows MSNBC How a Debate is Done