Saturday, June 20, 2009

Michigan Schools Superintendent Calls for Dramatic Increases In Student Standards

In a bold declaration in a Michigan Department of Education News Release (poasted May 4, 2009), State Superintendent of Public Instruction Michael Flanagan explained that national and state standards need to be increased dramatically:

"We are testing basic skills here, not what students need to compete at a global level," Flanagan said. "If schools only have low or moderate numbers of students being proficient at the basic skills level, what does that say about those schools and the chances for those students to succeed?"

Flanagan noted that even though Michigan's curriculum standards are among the best and most rigorous in the nation, its state tests are scored at a scale below international standards. He expects those test scoring scales will be increased to reflect the level of proficiency Michigan students need to compete at global levels. Independent studies have concluded that Michigan test scores rate at the national average among all states, while globally, the United States rates lower than many other nations.

"Being an academically average state in an academically below-average nation doesn't offer much hope for the future," Flanagan said. "We need to raise expectations for our schools and our students, and reimagine how we educate all of our children to extraordinary levels so Michigan can lead with brain power as we did in manufacturing."

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Tianamen Square - Not Forgotten

Today marks the anniversary of the crushing of the peaceful student led movement seeking reform of China's corrupt communist led government. For weeks, up to a million Chinese protesters - from all walks of life - joined together in Tianamen Square to demand reform. In China, in which the authoritarian government has almost always been the norm, such a mass protest was unheard of. Tianamen Square is a huge area in the capital city of Beijing dedicated to celebrating the Chinese Communist Party. The protests following the death of Hu Yaobang, a government official who championed internal reform. The protesters even created a replica of the Statute of Liberty. After internal debates about how to address the situation, the regime decided to quash the gathering, and ordered the Chinese Army to use force to crush it. Likely thousands died on the square, and the protest movement was suppressed with a wave of arrests.

Those who died should be remembered today. They are the symbols of freedom, and an inspiration for us even decades later. They died only because they wanted what we take for granted in America - our First Principles of the rule of law, equality, the Social Compact, unalienable rights, and a limited government.

Although today the Chinese government considers them traitors, someday the corrupt regime of China will fall, and the heroes of Tianamen Square will take their rightful place in Chinese history.

For more on the importance First Principles and why they are worth fighting for, visit