David Hart – now again living in his native Australia – reflects on voting in a country the government of which makes voting mandatory but also punishes non-voting with only a small fine . A slice:
I think it is as important to take into account those who did not vote for a candidate or party as those who did. Not voting at all or not voting “properly” (i.e. in the state approved manner) is also an expression of a political viewpoint which needs to be taken into account when trying to understand voter attitudes. I call this the “negative vote” as opposed to the “positive vote” which most journalists and academics consider when analyzing the results of an election. And the combined vote of the DNV (did not vote) and the “informal” vote (I) might be termed the “negative candidate” who stands for a “negative political party”. This “negative political party” did quite well in the last election, coming 3rd behind the two major parties and ahead of the Greens in the House of Representatives with a combined vote of 2,554,391 or 14.84%; and in the Senate similarly, also placing 3rd behind the two major parties and ahead of the Greens with a combined vote of 2,172,775 (12.62%). By my reckoning this makes the “negative political party” a potentially powerful force in Australian politics.
Chevron also dramatically weakened the judiciary’s ability to check agencies’ regulatory overreach. Before 1984, the judiciary took a “hard look” approach in assessing the legality of federal regulations. Chevron was more of a rubber stamp. Judges blessed specific regulations and countenanced agency actions that Congress had never authorized. It made a mockery of Chief Justice John Marshall’s declaration in Marbury v. Madison (1803): “It is emphatically the duty of the Judicial Department to say what the law is.”
West Virginia limits Chevron by fleshing out the “major questions doctrine,” a longstanding judicial presumption that when an administrative agency asserts authority over questions of great economic and political significance, it may act only if Congress has clearly authorized it to do so. Or, as the Constitution puts it: “All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States.
Jeff Yass is spot on: It’s time to stop writing blank checks for failing public-school systems (“Money for Children, Not Schools ,” op-ed, June 23). States with robust money-follow-the-child programs, such as Florida and Arizona, register achievement gains far exceeding the national average. Florida’s low-income fourth-graders went from 12% proficient in reading in 1998 to a nation-leading 28% proficient in 2019. That 133% improvement is more than double the national average, while here in Kansas proficiency declined.
Toni Jennings, a retired teacher and former lieutenant governor of Florida, says , “The more competition we had in education, the better off we became. So, I for one believe that competition is good. But you will hear those who say, ‘Oh no, you’re making the public schools compete with others.’ Well, those children are going to have to go out and compete with others in the workaday world.”
The 2021 ACT results show that 31% of white students are college-ready in English, reading, math and science, while only 14% of Hispanic students and 6% of black students met that standard. Achievement gaps are getting worse, and at least here in Kansas, school districts ignore state laws directing them to identify and address barriers to improvement in each school.
The public-school system needs a healthy dose of choice, transparency and accountability to give students a fighting chance to succeed in life.
CEO, Kansas Policy Institute
Overland Park, Kan.
A third line of thinking takes a pox-on-both-your-houses approach. Don’t choose between public school parents and public school educators. Blow up the system. Pass backpack funding . Expand school choice. That way, parents win and teachers win. Parents can find the school that meets their standards of excellence and/or teaches their values. Educators can build institutions centered around their expertise. Families will then choose from a menu, and that menu will cover almost every educational meal.
I’m drawn to the third way. School choice de-escalates curricular culture battles and enhances the autonomy and responsibility of every individual in the system. Both parents and teachers have the ability to vote with their feet, to seek schools and jobs that match their philosophy and priorities. Moreover, it builds a sense of constructive cultural purpose. An explosion of school choice could revitalize the lost art of institution-building and community formation.
A New York State Supreme Court judge reins in the ability of the New York State Health Department to issue, in the name of protecting public health, isolation and quarantine procedures . (DBx: Note that because in New York the Supreme Court of that state is, in fact, a trial court and not an appellate court, this ruling could be reversed by a higher-level New York court.)