Should Preschool Be in a Federal K-12 Education Bill?

With congressional education leaders looking to rewrite K-12 education policies, liberals continue to push Congress to expand funding for ineffective federal preschool programs.

After one House Republican bill passed the Committee on Education and the Workforce, President Obama threatened to veto the bill. “[The bill] fails to make critical investments for this Nation’s students, including high-quality preschool for America’s children,” part of the veto threat read. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan made the same point in February, writing, “A reauthorized law must expand access to quality preschool.”

But there are several reasons preschool policy should not be added to K-12 education reform.

First of all, federally-funded preschool is ineffective. A 2012 study by Obama’s Department of Health and Human Services found initial benefits for participants in the Head Start program, which is largely made up of children in families with incomes under the poverty line. But initial gains faded out and were gone by the third grade, let alone high school graduation. Other studies have shown gains may even fade by first grade and that the program is vulnerable to fraud. It is not unreasonable to expect preschool policies to be effective by the time supposed beneficiaries leave the K-12 system.

Read the rest at the Washington Examiner…

The End of an Illusion: What Boris Nemtsov’s Murder Means for the International Community

On February 27, Boris Nemtsov, the Russian statesman, physicist, and outspoken critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was executed by unknown assailants just outside Moscow’s Red Square.

A liberal reformer, Nemtsov was a key figure in the introduction of capitalism to post-Soviet Russia. He was also seen as a uniting figure, someone who could bring together various Russian opposition groups.  While the Russian state has charged two men and is looking into three more suspects, many are sceptical of an investigation controlled by the man whom many believe had the motive and means to have Nemtsov murdered: Vladimir Putin.

Nemtsov is the latest of a long list of outspoken Putin critics who have met their untimely end. It’s a trend that, coupled with Russia’s covert aggression against its neighbours, has many in the international community sounding the alarm. Garry Kasparov, the world-renowned chess player and Russian political activist, is one of many who believe his friend, Boris Nemtsov, was assassinated by members of Russia’s security services at the behest of Putin.

When Boris Yeltsin stepped down in 1999, the international community welcomed Vladimir Putin as the man who would lead Russia out of isolation and end decades of hostility and tension.

In 1999, a series of apartment building bombings triggered the Russian war in Chechnya. Suspicious circumstances led many Russians to believe that Russian security services, the FSB, had orchestrated the bombings.

Read the rest at City A.M. …