Why Republicans Should Embrace Obama's Education Agenda

The old GOP playbook on education won't work today, say two conservative education experts.

As Liz Dwyer mentioned in her post earlier today, tonight's election results are likely to include a Republican surge that, at the very least, carries the GOP back to power in the House. And she rightly asserts that federal education reforms instituted in the first two years of the Obama administration could be threatened by "new political agendas that are focused on local control."

Two right-leaning education experts are warning Republican lawmakers not to rely on their education playbook of the past. In an Op-Ed that demonstrates how nonpartisan education reform has become, Chester E. Finn Jr. and Michael J. Petrilli, the top men at The Thomas B. Fordham Institute, suggest that Republicans "should sieze much of" the Obama administration's blueprint for reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (known as No Child Left Behind in its current incarnation).

Finn and Petrilli write that should the predicted GOP landslide materialize, the new crop of legislators shouldn't rush to dump federal oversight for conservative hallmarks, like states’ rights, local control, and parental choice. No Child Left Behind basically obliterated the states' rights argument (with states like Massachusetts holding their students to world class, whereas states like Tennessee expect far less). Local control has also led to uneven results, and parental choice, the pair write, isn't really ready for prime time since there aren't enough good options to choose among.

The authors, being conservatives, did find the Obama administration's Race to the Top overly forceful and they are wary of the Common Core State Standards, but they see an avenue for compromise:

The goal is to make the federal government a force for change, but with much greater humility about what it can actually accomplish from afar. Our reasoning, then and now, is to move toward a “tight-loose” approach to education governance: “tight” as to the results we want our schools to achieve but “loose” as to how schools, districts, and states get there.


Via The Washington Post's Class Struggle blog; photo via Republicans in Congress.

via The Howard Stern Show / YouTube

Former Secretary of State, first lady, and winner of the popular vote in the 2016 presidential election, Hillary Clinton, sat own for an epic, two-and-a--half hour interview with Howard Stern on his SiriusXM show Wednesday.

She was there to promote "The Book of Gutsy Women," a book about heroic women co-written with her daughter, Chelsea Clinton.

In the far-reaching conversation, Clinton and the self-proclaimed "King of All Media" and, without a doubt, the best interviewer in America discussed everything from Donald Trump's inauguration to her sexuality.

Keep Reading Show less

Offering parental leave for new fathers could help close the gender gap, removing the unfair "motherhood penalty" women receive for taking time off after giving birth. However, a new study finds that parental leave also has a pay gap. Men are less likely to take time off, however, when they do, they're more likely to get paid for it.

A survey of 2,966 men and women conducted by New America found that men are more likely to receive paid parental leave. Over half (52%) of fathers had fully paid parental leave, and 14% of fathers had partially paid parental leave. In comparison, 33% of mothers had fully paid parental leave and 19% had partially paid parental leave.

Keep Reading Show less

Bans on plastic bags and straws can only go so far. Using disposable products, like grabbing a plastic fork when you're on the go, can be incredibly convenient. But these items also contribute to our growing plastic problem.

Fortunately, you can cut down on the amount of waste you produce by cutting down on disposable products. And even more fortunately, there are sustainable (and cute) replacements that won't damage the environment.

Coconut bowls


Who says sustainable can't also be stylish? These cute coconut bowls were handmade using reclaimed coconuts, making each piece one of a kind. Not only are they organic and biodegradable, but they're also durable, in case your dinner parties tend to get out of hand. The matching ebony wood spoons were polished with the same coconut oil as the bowls.

Cocostation Set of 2 Vietnamese Coconut Bowls and Spoons, $14.99; at Amazon

Solar powered phone charger


Why spend time looking around for an outlet when you can just harness the power of the sun? This solar powered phone charger will make sure your phone never dies as long as you can bask in the sun's rays. As an added bonus, this charger was made using eco-friendly silicone rubber. It's win-win all around.

Dizaul Solar Charger, 5000mAh Portable Solar Power Bank, $19.95; at Amazon, $19.95; at Amazon

Herb garden kit

Planter Pro

Put some green in your life with this herb planter. The kit comes with everything you need to get a garden growing, including a moisture meter that helps you determine if your herbs are getting the right amount of food to flourish. All the seeds included are certified to be non-GMO and non-hybrids, meaning you can have fresh, organic herbs right at your fingertips.

Planter Pro's Herb Garden Cedar Planter, $39.00; at Amazonedar Planter, $39.00; at Amazon

Reusable Keurig cups

K & J

Keurig cups are convenient, but they also create a ton of plastic waste. These Keurig-compatible plastic cups are an easy way to cut down on the amount of trash you create without cutting down on your caffeine. Additionally, you won't have to keep on buying K Cups, which means you'll be saving money and the environment.

K&J Reusable Filter Cups, $8.95 for a set of 4,; at Amazon

Low-flow shower head


Low-flow water fixtures can cut down your water consumption, which saves you money while also saving one of the Earth's resources. This shower head was designed with a lighter flow in mind, which means you'll be able to cut down on water usage without feeling like you're cutting down on your shower.

Speakman Low Flow Shower Head, $14.58; at Amazon

Bamboo safety razor


Instead of throwing away a disposable razor every time you shave, invest in an eco-friendly, reusable one. This unisex shaver isn't just sustainable, it's also sharp-looking, which means it would make a great gift for the holidays.

Zomchi Safety Razor, $16.99; at Amazon

The Planet