You are browsing the archive for 2019 September 03.

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Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf Misses the Mark on School Choice

September 3, 2019 in Economics

By Corey A. DeAngelis

Corey A. DeAngelis

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf recently vetoed a
bill that would have expanded private school choice for low- and
middle-income families. Less than two months later, Wolf
is calling
to further regulate
 the commonwealth’s public charter
schools. At first glance, his new plan sounds like a great idea. I
mean, who can argue with slogans like “quality
education for all students
” and “taxpayer accountability”?

The only problem is that the policy prescriptions actually get
us further away from the stated goals. Here’s why.

The governor’s plan calls to “prevent charters from overcharging
school districts and taxpayers” to achieve “fair funding.” This
recommendation has it completely backwards. According to the most
recent data from
the Pennsylvania Department of Education, district-run public
schools spend $19,242 per child and public charter schools spend
$14,113 per child. That’s right, public charter schools spend
$5,129 – or 27 percent - lessper
pupil than district-run public schools.

This large funding disparity is especially disturbing
considering public charter schools serve over double
the proportion
 of students
of color
 and 1.3
times the proportion
 of economically
disadvantaged students
compared to district-run schools.
Systematically underfunding historically disadvantaged groups
obviously isn’t fair. So why would anyone think it would be fair to
increase these funding inequities?

Fair funding means giving all children the same education
dollars regardless of what kind of school works best for them. If
Governor Wolf wants fair and equal funding for public education, he
should instead be calling for a big increase in per pupil funding
for public charter schools. Yet here we are.

The plan similarly calls to “make charters pay for their
administrative costs instead of taxpayers” for “taxpayer
accountability. But district-run public schools also have
administrative costs that are covered by taxpayers. Why should
public charter schools have to cover these costs when they already
receive less than three-quarters of the per pupil funding as
district-run public schools? Again, this double standard doesn’t
sound like “fair funding for all public schools.”

And we haven’t even gotten to the worst part.

Wolf also wants to “limit enrollment at underperforming
charters” so that we can have “quality education for all …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Empire America: Why Washington Can't Reduce Its Military Footprint

September 3, 2019 in Economics

By Ted Galen Carpenter

Ted Galen Carpenter

As negotiations between the United States and the Taliban continue, it is increasingly clear that even if an agreement emerges, any U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan will be partial, not total. President Donald Trump recently confirmed that point. “Oh yeah, you have to keep a presence,” Trump said in an interview with Fox News radio. “We’re going to keep a presence there.” He did indicate that the current troop level of more than 14,000 was being reduced to 8,600. Further reductions might take place if a final accord could be reached, but a sizable contingent of Special Forces personnel, intelligence operatives, and military contractors would remain indefinitely.

Disappointed advocates of a complete withdrawal from America’s longest war believed that, once again, the president listened to military leaders and congenital hawks such asSen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and backed away from his intention to extricate the United States from the seemingly interminable conflict. A similar pattern had emerged in the summer of 2017, when National Security Adviser H. R. McMaster, Secretary of Defense James Mattis, and other advisers successfully prevailed on Trump to abandon the pledgehe made during the 2016 presidential campaign to terminate the Afghanistan mission.

It is an oversimplification to blame the influence of nefarious hawks for Trump’s desire to keep a U.S. military footprint (albeit a smaller one) in Afghanistan. His move is consistent with more than seven decades of U.S. security policy around the world. Since the end of World War II, the United States has practiced its own version of the Cold War-era Brezhnev Doctrine. Moscow’s policy, named after Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev, asserted that once a country became a member of the communist camp, it must always remain a member. The U.S. version has meant that once a nation becomes a security dependent of the United States, it forever remains a U.S. security dependent, and once Washington establishes a significant military footprint in a country, that footprint will endure.

It has been a strikingly consistent pattern. The United States still has troops stationed in Europe and Japan long after World War II ended. Even the collapse of the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union itself led only to a reduction, not the elimination, of the U.S. troop presence in Europe. Similarly, Washington continues to station nearly thirty thousand troops in South Korea, even though that country now has …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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How Hong Kong Came Under 'One Country, Two Systems' Rule

September 3, 2019 in History

By Becky Little

The arrangement began in 1997 as part of a gradual return of the territory to China from British colonial rule.

At midnight on July 1, 1997, Hong Kong returned to Chinese control after a century and a half of British colonial rule. The handover was meant to establish a “one country, two systems” relationship between China and Hong Kong that would last until 2047, with Hong Kong existing as a special administrative region.

Since the handover, Hong Kong residents have accused Beijing of overstepping its authority. The Umbrella Movement was a series of protests in 2014 that called for more transparent elections for the city’s chief executive. In early 2016, Hong Kong booksellers disappeared and later showed up in police custody in China. And in 2019 protests erupted in Hong Kong over a proposed bill to allow extradition to mainland China.

Here’s a look back at what led to Hong Kong’s unusual relationship with China.

China Cedes Hong Kong Island in the First Opium War

The 1841 Convention of Chuenpi between Britain and China ceded Hong Kong to Britain. At the end of the First Opium War, the 1844 Treaty of Nanking confirmed the cession.

Hong Kong first came under Chinese rule during the Qin Dynasty in the third century B.C., and it remained a part of the Chinese Empire for about 2,000 years. But between 1842 and 1898, the British Empire gradually seized control of the three main regions that make up modern-day Hong Kong: Hong Kong Island, the Kowloon Peninsula and the New Territories.

All of these regions were still under Chinese control when the empire went to war with the British Empire in 1839. This was the First Opium War, so called because China was trying to stop British drug traffickers from illegally smuggling opium into China (the trafficking had created an addiction crisis).

During the war, China temporarily ceded Hong Kong Island to the British Empire with the 1841 Convention of Chuenpi. When the war ended in 1842, the Treaty of Nanjing forced China to indefinitely cede the southern island to the British.

The Chinese Empire transfers the rest of Hong Kong to the British Empire

The map in the Convention of Peking signed in 1860. The dotted line marks the boundary between Hong Kong and China.

Control of Hong Kong Island gave the British Empire better access to Chinese trade. Eager for even more, …read more