THE ASSOCIATION OF AMERICAN EDUCATORS (AAE) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan national teachers association that offers many of the same benefits that the teacher unions provide but at a fraction of the cost of belonging to a union, and without the liberal politics. In what may be the best-kept secret in America, over 250,000 teachers in 17 states have joined independent teacher associations to obtain their liability insurance, which is the biggest reason teachers feel they need to join the unions. In Georgia, Missouri, and Texas, these independent associations have grown larger than the NEA or AFT affiliates in those states.
The AAE is working to launch new independent state teacher associations and to mobilize existing ones into a force that can blunt the harmful influence of the unions. We believe that unless national policy leaders and education reformers hear from the hundreds of thousands of unrepresented teachers across America, the education reform movement, and ultimately our children and nation, will suffer the consequences.
AAE and the independents are different from the teachers unions in many ways. Unlike union leaders, we believe that teachers’, and teacher associations’, first duty is to the children, not to union interests. We believe that education means teaching character as well as knowledge and intellect. As Benjamin Franklin said, “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom; nothing is more important for public wealth than to form and train up youth in wisdom and virtue.”
The AAE has developed several character education programs that are being used in public schools around the country. Unlike the unions, we are also committed to schools that are free from strikes and any other work stoppage tactics or coercive threats. Membership in our associations is voluntary. The AAE does not contribute any of our members’ dues to political candidates or parties. Such contributions by the teacher unions have been as high as 50 percent of union dues in some states.
Unlike the NEA and AFT, the AAE seeks more involvement from parents and local communities rather than from the federal government. The schools and their administration, instructional services, and curriculum, should be controlled by and accountable to the parents and taxpayers of the local communities they serve. Furthermore, unlike the unions, we encourage innovations in public education that could lead to real reform, including non-traditional school options such as charter schools; alternative teacher certification; and the use of volunteers, non-union employees, and qualified private entities to help operate our schools and save local tax dollars.
The NEA continually lobbies for more federal funding because they say public education is in a financial crisis. The AAE believes we are at a financial crossroads, not crisis. Do we need to repair our eroding school buildings, buy more books and computers, and redesign and improve teacher compensation in order to attract and keep the best teachers? Of course we do. However, until there are systemic changes, most education dollars will never get to where they can do the most good: the classrooms of America.
AAE’s rapid membership growth is confirmation that many teachers are looking for a professional alternative to the union mentality. Part of the reason is that we take our directions from practicing educators who have been recognized for their vision and excellence. AAE board members include such excellent teachers as Guy Doud, 1987 National Teacher of the Year, Tom Fleming, 1992 National Teacher of the Year, and Tracey Bailey, 1993 National Teacher of the Year.
Our growth has not gone unnoticed by the unions. In fact, the NEA labeled us “a stalking horse for the right wing groups” and “an enemy of public education.” To which Tracy Bailey says, “No wonder the NEA is worried, the AAE represents that which is so sorely needed-professionalism and a focus on children first. This stands in stark contrast to the current environment of organizations like the NEA protecting the status quo and using teachers’ dues to lobby for controversial social issues!”
There is ample evidence (including the unions’ own internal surveys) that hundreds of thousands of union members are fed up with their leadership telling them what to think and how to vote. Teachers are beginning to ask some fundamental questions, such as: Has public education improved since the NEA transformed itself from a professional association into an organized labor union in the mid 70s? Has the connection with unionism improved the reputation of teachers as professionals? Have the unions really helped us get the pay we deserve? A recent internal NEA survey revealed that many NEA members would prefer to belong to a professional association rather than to an old-style industrial labor union. This survey revealed other ways NEA leadership is out of touch with its membership. For example, younger NEA members favor the idea of merit pay, which NEA leaders have fought against for years.
We are pleased with the response to the AAE thus far. However, we know our fight has just begun. At the NEA’s summer convention a number of state affiliates received additional funds to fight off the growth of independent groups. We need to get the word out about the AAE and independent teacher associations. Teachers need to know they have a choice!
Mr. Beckner is a founder of and the Executive Director of the Association of American Educators.
WITH THE HELP OF HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER Dick Armey of Texas and Representative “Billy” Tauzin of Louisiana, Citizens for a Sound Economy Foundation’s “Scrap the Code” tour is educating and galvanizing Americans to promote fundamental tax reform. Congressmen Armey and Tauzin propose to scrap our overly complicated and unfair tax code and replace it with either a flat tax, in the case of Mr. Armey, or a national retail sales tax, embraced by Mr. Tauzin. While each is committed to his own plan, both agree that either alternative is better than the status quo. Both have devoted a large portion of their time and energy to this traveling road show because they believe in the premise of CSE Foundation’s “Scrap the Code” tour: Overhauling the federal tax code will happen only if pressure is applied from outside the Beltway.
CSE Foundation’s tour has criss-crossed the United States since October 1997, with stops from Phoenix, Arizona, to Sarasota, Florida, from Seattle, Washington, and San Diego, California, on the west coast to Boston, Massachusetts and the suburbs of Philadelphia on the east coast. In all, the tour stopped in 30 cities, with participation from approximately 30,000 people. Because the two Congressmen don’t believe that talking about tax reform has to be deadly dull, the debate format gives the public an opportunity to become educated about the top two tax reform alternatives in an entertaining yet informative manner.
The response has been amazing, answering once and for all the question of whether tax reform resonates with the public. Phone calls and letters of support have been pouring in to CSE Foundation since the tour took off last autumn. Hundreds of newspapers have covered the story, and the major television networks have each covered at least one tour stop. Tax reform is an issue that consistently makes news and attracts voter interest—even when Congress fails to act on the issue. A couple other measures of this are that CSE Foundation has given away over 15,000 free tee-shirts and at least as many booklets, brochures, bumper stickers and buttons.
Last October, while many members of Congress and the president were out selling their “dream” budget deal, CSE Foundation received its first inkling of how grassroots Americans felt about tax reform. Four thousand people turned out in Atlanta to hear Congressmen Armey and Tauzin debate their plans. It was an overflow crowd, requiring that some people watch the debate from television monitors in the corridors outside.
Enthusiasm for the tour did not stop there. This past May, in Raleigh, North Carolina, when the evening’s debate ended, the crowd refused to let Majority Leader Armey leave the stage. He stayed for a full hour after the hour-and-a half debate ended to answer questions, despite having already done a morning debate in Charlotte. In August, in Kansas City, the Channel 5-news station covered the debate live as the congressmen talked tax reform to another full lunchtime crowd. Members of Congress continue to request that the tour come to their districts.
For anyone who still doubts that Americans are interested in tax reform, consider this: Last month, The Washington Post ran a front-page story containing a poll showing that 66 percent of the American public support fundamental tax reform and consider it to be an important issue for deciding how to vote in November.
House Majority Leader Dick Armey likes to say that tax reform will be a reality “when America beats Washington.” The popularity of the “Scrap the Code” tour suggests that there is sufficient public support to conduct a major overhaul of our nation’s tax code, if tax reformers persevere in educating and leading the American people.
Mr. Beckner is President of Citizens for a Sound Economy Foundation, a Washington, D.C.-based 250.000-member grassroots organization.
IN LESS THAN A DECADE, the privately funded voucher movement has become a major force not only for the achievement of its primary goal—helping children and empowering low-income parents—but also for advancing the public policy debate on school choice and building a solid base of grassroots support for parental choice in education. In addition, new programs have made it easier to make estimates of consumer demand for school choice and have established a rich and attractive environment for academic research on educational choice issues.
Since 1990, private scholarship programs have grown exponentially. Although predated by the 1990 formation of the Daniel Murphy Scholarship Foundation in Chicago, it was Golden Rule Insurance Chairman J. Patrick Rooney’s creation of a new prototype voucher in 1991 that inspired similar efforts in cities across the country. Since 1994, the Children’s Educational Opportunity Fund of America (CEO America) has used Rooney’s Educational Choice Charitable Trust model to found dozens of private scholarship programs. With each effort tailored to meet local needs, the programs serve almost 12,500 children and now operate in 41 cities nationwide with a waiting list of over 45,000 students.
Recently, entrepreneur-philanthropist Ted Forstmann and investor John Walton created the Children’s Scholarship Fund, a new $200 million program to provide scholarships to at least 50,000 low-income children. This program suddenly transformed the private voucher movement into a large-scale rescue operation that now dwarfs the past decade’s legislative efforts to save children from failing schools. For this new fund, Forstmann and Walton will each contribute $50 million and seek matching funds from local partners in cities across the country to secure the total pledge of $200 million for scholarships.
In response to this generous contribution, American Federation of Teachers President Sandra Feldman said that she would have preferred to have the money contributed directly to the public schools. Feldman wants the private sector to contribute more resources to public schools, even though enormous financial commitments from businesses have had little discernable effect.
Indeed, according to Investor’s Business Daily, more firms are realizing they can do more good by “by cutting out the public school middleman” and helping kids directly. And as Daniel Murphy Foundation President Jim Murphy asserts, “Giving kids the opportunity to go to a better school is an end in itself.”
Because privately funded vouchers go directly to parents, without the intervention of legislators, their inevitable expansion is more threatening to the public education monopoly. President Clinton’s veto of the D.C. Student Opportunity Scholarship Act may continue to protect failing schools in the nation’s capital from the much-needed challenge of publicly funded vouchers, but there is no protection against the competitive challenge of privately funded vouchers from the Washington Scholarship Fund.
When faced with the loss of students, even the worst schools begin to shape up. Giffen Elementary was the worst school in Albany, New York, when it lost about 100 students through a scholarship offer from philanthropist Virginia Gilder last year. Now, the school has a new principal, additional funding, and a dozen new teachers. In a new program in San Antonio, privately funded vouchers are challenging a whole school district and are expected to result in the creation of more private schools.
While the virtue of philanthropy brings its own reward, the response to privately funded vouchers demonstrates unequivocally that low-income families care deeply about the education of their children and are willing to make significant sacrifices to get it. Demand for the scholarships is huge.
When New York’s School Choice Scholarship program offered 1,200 scholarships last year, 22,700 families with an average annual income of only $9,634 rushed to apply. Similarly, in January, the Washington Scholarship Fund received 7,573 applications for 1,000 scholarship for students from low-income families, or 17 percent of the eligible population in Washington, D.C. in just a few months. Such overwhelming demand persuaded Forstmann and Walton to take their efforts nationwide with the $200 million Children’s Scholarship Fund.
In offering hundreds of thousands of parents the chance to rescue their children from underperforming schools, privately funded voucher programs are establishing a solid base of grassroots support for school choice. As this base grows in size and citizens make it clearer where they want to go, lawmakers will find it increasingly attractive to jump out in front of them to provide the legislative leadership necessary to make school choice a reality for all children.
Mr. Clowes is Managing Editor of School Reform News.
IN THE NAME OF RACIAL EQUALITY, over the past 25 years, America’s civil rights laws have evolved into a complex and confusing system of racial quotas, racial preferences, and other set-asides that most Americans oppose. Today’s civil rights laws do not forbid race discrimination, they require it. They do not promote equal opportunity, they undermine it. Their goal is not a color-blind society where the government protects all Americans from race discrimination, their aim is proportional representation where the government actually engages in race discrimination by using different rules for applicants of different races. The sad effect of these government policies is to encourage people to exploit their racial differences to get ahead.
How did things get so far off track? It happened when the moral principle of the Civil Rights Act of 1964—equal treatment under the law, regardless of race—was abandoned by the civil rights movement in favor of programs that required race-based results: In schools it meant forced busing. In colleges and universities, it meant political correctness masquerading as “sensitivity.” And in contracting and hiring, it meant hiring by race.
This has caused a fissure between mainstream America and liberal elites. While most people want to move beyond race, it seems that liberal elites want to dwell on it. They do not look beyond someone’s skin color, they focus on it. In so doing, they warp the ideals of America’s most cherished civil rights advocate, Martin Luther King. Dr. King did not dream of an America where his children’s race would count for them instead of against them. He dreamed of an America where his children would be judged by their abilities and character instead of their race. And that’s the kind of America envisioned by Initiative 200, the Washington State Civil Rights Initiative.
Initiative 200 is not only refreshingly simple and clear, but is also the embodiment of the moral principle of equal treatment for all—regardless of race. The Initiative envisions a society where children will be judged as individuals and not as members of racial “groups.” And if it passes, the Initiative will end government quotas and racial preferences in Washington state’s public hiring, contracting, and public education—particularly in college admissions.
The recent drive to do away with racial preferences in America was launched by a black man, Ward Connerly, a University of California regent, who was appalled at seeing the basic principle of the civil rights movement trashed in order to guarantee “diversity” in student enrollment. Connerly led the drive to do away with set-asides based on race and gender by chairing the Proposition 209 campaign in California. Prop 209 was the nation’s first ballot measure to prohibit preferences and set-asides that allow a less qualified applicant to be selected over a more qualified applicant because of race or gender. It passed in America’s most multi-ethnic state, 55-45, despite having almost no endorsements from newspapers or business leaders.
The NAACP and the ACLU, perhaps the two organizations most fiercely committed to racial quotas, have declared war on Initiative 200. The NAACP has pledged $50,000 to defeat I-200, and the ACLU has kicked in $37,500. These and other large contributions are being used to pay for an advertising strategy that will focus on the false claim that Initiative 200 would end all affirmative action programs. In fact, Initiative 200 prohibits only those programs that use race to select a less qualified applicant over a better qualified applicant. Outreach and recruitment programs will not only be allowed, they will likely expand—as they have in California—now that set-asides have been abolished. Opponents allege that the Initiative is divisive, but they misjudge the source of the problem by failing to recognize that it is the current system that encourages acrimony by emphasizing race rather than minimizing it.
Opponents also observe that in California the number of blacks, Hispanics, and Native Americans admitted to state colleges and universities declined following the passage of 209. But that presents an incomplete picture. For although the numbers of minorities fell at Berkeley and UCLA, they went up at other campuses. In fact, the overall number of minorites declined only slightly, as did the number of whites. Asians actually increased their numbers.
With the passage of Initiative 200, Washington would become the second state to go on record as opposing quotas. Two polls this year show that 69 percent of the likely voters favor the Initiative. But its opponents, including Big Government, Big Labor, Big Media, and even Big Business will be throwing everything they have into defeating I-200. The cause of a color-blind society needs the support and prayers of all conservatives on behalf of this important ballot initiative. If we stand firm and stand together, we can change history.
Mr. Carlson is Chairman of the Washington Institute for Policy Studies and Chairman of the Washington State Civil Rights Initiative.
THE 19TH-CENTURY BRITISH PRIME MINISTER Benjamin Disraeli warned, “There are lies, there are damn lies, and then there are statistics.” Conducting the 2000 census by deliberately not counting at least 10 percent of the U.S. population is a questionable proposition that could challenge the very fabric of our constitutional order.
The Clinton Administration is proceeding with an unprecedented plan to use the methodology known as “statistical sampling” for the census in the year 2000. The plan calls for an actual count of 90 percent of the U.S. population and a statistical count of the remaining 10 percent. In short, this means that approximately 26 million people will be statistically projected.
Why would this set off a constitutional crisis? The U.S. Constitution mandates an “actual Enumeration” by “counting the whole number of persons in each state” to be taken “in such manner as they [Congress] shall determine” for purposes of apportioning congressional representation among the states. Statistical sampling makes a hard, distributive count of the U.S. population an impossibility. More important, the opportunity for partisan manipulation of the census count will become a political reality.
Congress, as the constitutionally appointed guardian of the census, has made clear its will. Title 13, Section 195 of the U.S. Code specifically prohibits the use of statistical sampling for purposes of determining congressional apportionment. And although Congress has properly delegated the census-taking responsibility to the Commerce Department, it has not given away—and indeed cannot give away—the requirement that the census be an “actual Enumeration.” The President, however, along with his Commerce Secretary Bill Daley, who oversees the U.S. Census Bureau, is pursuing the unconstitutional and yet unproven sampling scheme for use in the decennial census that is slated to occur in the year 2000.
Under the Clinton sampling scheme, actual head count figures will be replaced by computer-generated population numbers, which are the “best guess” of bureaucrats in the Commerce Department. Cast adrift on the endless sea of theoreticals, the potential impact of a sampled census on congressional districts, particularly those in states containing large urban centers, is staggering.
In February, 16 plaintiffs from 14 states, along with three counties, brought suit in federal district court in Virginia to challenge the unconstitutional sampling scheme. Southeastern Legal Foundation attorneys, along with attorneys with Cooper, Carvin & Rosenthal in Washington, D.C., launched the suit for the purpose of enforcing both the U.S. Constitution and existing federal law. Several days later, the U.S. House of Representatives, as a body, filed a similar challenge in D.C. federal district court. Both suits will be heard by special three-judge panels in June, and any appeal will be fast-tracked to the U.S. Supreme Court in early fall.
At issue is the 1990 census undercount, which by most reports was 1.6 percent. Urban minorities, Hispanics in border states, migrant workers, and the homeless comprise a significant portion of those hard-to-reach undercounted. At the same time the Census Bureau is preparing to update its computers and mailing lists, hire hundreds of thousands of ethnic enumerators to reach the communities where the undercount is high, and streamline its data collection systems in an effort to count better, its leaders are pushing ahead with the sampling scheme, which a recent GAO report describes as “doomed to failure.”
Arguing that national census accuracy is the issue, Bureau leaders and their liberal congressional counterparts have suggested that sampling is the only method which can adequately compensate for the failure to count everybody. After all, the National Academy of Sciences has endorsed statistical sampling as a legitimate methodology for counting the U.S. population. How could they be wrong?
In Federalist No. 54, James Madison describes the actual head count methodology as the “permanent and precise standard” for census-taking. The Framers of the Constitution understood the temptation for states to inflate their population numbers in order to increase political power in Washington, and implemented the check and balance of direct taxation as a disincentive for fudging population numbers. The Sixteenth Amendment, which instituted income taxation, eliminated the constitutional disincentive. It is therefore more critical than ever that we enforce the constitutional and statutory mandate to protect the objective, actual head count census. This issue, and the pending lawsuits, are about the law, not about the accuracy of statistical sampling.
The integrity of the U.S. census count is every bit as critical to representative democracy as the integrity of the ballot box is to honest and free elections. We do not guess at the number of votes in an election, and we should not guess at the number of people in America. The Clinton Administration’s “best guess” plan offers a poor solution to a legitimate problem, and flies in the face of a clear constitutional and statutory mandate.
Should the 2000 Census be comprehensive and accurate? Of course. Will it reflect the true population of our nation? By law, it must. “Actual” versus “estimated” enumeration is a distinction with significant legal consequences. We must avoid the politicization of the national census. We must encourage national participation in the census, support the Census Bureau in its efforts to improve the count, and win the court challenges against sampling. Indeed, we must count everybody, because in America, everybody counts.
Mr. Glavin is President of Southeastern Legal Foundation.
FIFTEEN YEARS AFTER PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN launched the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) to protect the nation from nuclear ballistic missiles, Americans still have no defense against the world’s deadliest weapons. President Reagan’s vision was to replace the dogma of Mutual Assured Destruction, or “MAD,” which called for deterring a Soviet nuclear attack exclusively by the threat of nuclear retaliation, with a strategic and moral revolution. He proposed using America’s advanced technology to destroy enemy missiles in flight, to “save lives rather than avenge them.”
Since 1983 the Pentagon has spent nearly $50 billion on SDI, or later, BMD—ballistic missile defense. But although this investment in anti-missile technology has bought us the capability, the Pentagon still has not deployed a defense against ballistic missiles armed with nuclear, biological, or chemical warheads. And these weapons are spreading among the Saddam Husseins of the world precisely because we have failed to nullify their usefulness by building defenses against them. America remains defenseless, as a matter of deliberate policy. This condition is without precedent in human history—that a great military and economic power, faced with a dire and growing threat and possessing the means to protect itself, intentionally chooses to remain vulnerable.
The primary obstacle to missile defense is the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty with the now-defunct Soviet Union. This Cold War relic prohibited each treaty partner from deploying a nationwide missile defense and made unnecessarily costly and highly restricted research and development the only legal activity. When SDI advocates argue for defending America, SDI opponents take cover behind the ABM Treaty.
The fall of the USSR, our erstwhile treaty partner, should have eliminated the ABM Treaty as an obstacle to SDI. But arms control and foreign policy elites, clinging to their old dogmas like pagan priests, have kept the U.S. ensnared in the ABM Treaty even though our legal treaty partner and the Cold War conditions that gave rise to it are long gone. The Heritage Foundation has concluded that the ABM Treaty legally terminated with the end of the USSR and the resulting absence of a bona fide treaty partner. This conclusion is based on a highly authoritative legal brief commissioned by Heritage that looks at both the constitutional law and international law aspects of this unusual situation. That both the Bush and Clinton administrations continued to bind the U.S. to the treaty as a matter of policy in no way alters the compelling fact that legally the treaty is void.
The Clinton administration is so wedded to the concept of deliberate vulnerability that it is attempting to resolve the legal question of the Soviet Union’s successor to the treaty by creating a new ABM Treaty. In a Memorandum of Understanding signed in 1996 in New York, the administration would convert the now-defunct 1972 ABM Treaty into a new, multi-lateral agreement with Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan. Clinton’s new ABM Treaty would also codify restrictions on the most promising theater or regional missile defenses that were not explicitly covered in the original treaty.
But Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution, as well as statute law, requires that this new ABM Treaty come before the Senate for its advice and consent. Defense-issue conservatives, those concerned about U.S. sovereignty, and those troubled by Clinton’s evident contempt for the Constitution and law thus have a historic opportunity to join forces and help defeat the new ABM Treaty when the Clinton administration submits the New York agreement to the Senate for its constitutional advice and consent.
It is hard to conceive why a Republican Senate would approve an agreement that would strengthen and perpetuate the obstacle to nationwide defense against ballistic missiles. Moreover, unlike many legislative battles conservatives have fought hard and lost, this one can be won by garnering only 34 votes in the Senate. Simple or veto-proof majorities of both houses are not needed to win a significant political and moral victory. Seldom has the conservative community been presented with such a clear choice and such a historic opportunity. But it is up to those who care about America’s security and the future of constitutional government to work to make sure the Clinton administration does not succeed in implementing the sweeping new restrictions of the New York accords as a mere Executive Agreement.
The new ABM Treaty must come before the Senate for advice and consent in a timely fashion, and the American people, acting through their fiduciary agents in the Senate, must be given the chance to make the clear choice: Shall America be defended, or shall America remain perpetually vulnerable to the growing threat of weapons of mass destruction, “defended” only by a discredited and outmoded treaty?
Mr. Moore is Director of the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis International Studies Center at The Heritage Foundation.
MODERN LIBERALISM WAS BORN in the big cities and died there, a suicide of sorts. Beginning in the 1960s, urban America began to renounce its role as the proud center of commerce and innovation, increasingly presenting itself as the hopeless victim of racism and economic dislocation, in need of ever more government handouts. We became a nation of dependent cities filled with dependent people.
Liberals lost their birthright to govern urban America not because they were overwhelmed by a well-armed foe but because their sense of moral superiority made it impossible for them to adapt to new conditions or to learn from their critics. Urban liberalism died not because the federal government was insufficiently generous to the cities but because the money it sent sowed the seeds of its own destruction. Indeed, by the 1990s liberals had lost not only political control of the country’s preeminent cities—including New York, Los Angeles, and Washington—but the debate over urban issues as well.
Only now are America’s cities beginning to awaken from a decades-long spell of economic decline and social breakdown. The most surprising turnaround, perhaps, is seen in the sharp decline in crime in nearly all big cities. In New York City, for example, crime declined more than 25 percent in 1996 alone. High-end service sector jobs are booming in Chicago and Minneapolis, and even Detroit has cut its unemployment rate from 18 percent to 8 percent in the last few years. Los Angeles and San Jose are becoming incubators of the digital revolution, a key to the post-industrial economy. Cities are starting to repair the damage done by the three great gambles of the 1960s, in the areas of public order, incorporation, and welfare.
The Collapse and Rebirth of Public Order
The Los Angeles riots of 1965 and 1992, and the subsequent disorder that erupted nationally in their aftermath, were turning points in the lives of America’s big cities. Washington’s urban policy, which previously looked to integrate African-Americans into the mainstream economy, was, in a panic, replaced by what can only be described as a massive purchase of “riot insurance”—federal funds designed to forestall further violence. This policy, which in effect rewarded the very violence it sought to abate, became part of what can be called the “riot ideology”—the assumption that riots were an efficacious way to draw money and attention to the cities. And while the riots themselves ceased, they were replaced by the rolling riot of rising crime rates, growing welfare rolls, and government largesse.
The 1992 Los Angeles riot marked the beginning of the end of the riot ideology, though. For while it and the smaller riots it set off produced a vast volume of rhetoric, they generated no new aid. No longer able to hawk the failings of their residents for federal funds, the cities were forced to think about reintegrating the urban landscape into the larger economy.
Urban America wants to return to its past glory. But in an era that has been defined by the lasting achievements of the civil rights movement, there is no going back to a concept of community that is dependent upon government aid and federal mandates. Indeed, there is wide support for the reassertion of common standards of public decency. The cities, it seems, are turning inward and not outward for their renewal.
The Immigrant Model of Upward Mobility
The return to old assumptions about public order has been paralleled by a return to old assumptions about social mobility. In the mid-60s urban policymakers, under the influence of guilt, fear, and hubris, decided that when it came to blacks, and to some extent Hispanics, the immigrant model of incorporation should be jettisoned. Earlier assumptions about the close connection between work and well-being, the need for a common culture, and the importance of public order were redefined as racist and obsolete.
Today community activists and politicians around the country are embracing the assumptions once associated with immigrant ascent. Mayor Riordan’s landslide re-election in Los Angeles owed a great deal to the new Asian and Hispanic voters who responded to his appeals to them as citizens who needed jobs. While Riordan recognized the power of immigrant middle-class aspirations, his opponent, Tom Hayden, did not. Hayden lost immigrant support by casting them as victims who needed social programs. Asians supported Riordan by 62 per cent; Latinos by 60 per cent.
Replacing Work with Welfare
Replacing work with welfare was the third great gamble of the 60s. Sixties liberals redefined entry-level work as “dead end jobs” that went nowhere, and they ratcheted up welfare and related benefits to provide an alternative. Predictably, the number of people who became dependent on welfare increased, and the numbers in the labor force declined. Poor urban neighborhoods experienced increasing concentrations of what became known as “urban problems”—joblessness, poverty, and welfare dependence. Ultimately, the limits of the liberal welfare system became too obvious to ignore.
Last year’s federal welfare reform act is challenging the liberal cities’ sense of themselves, forcing them to confront their dependency on the federal government as their residents confront theirs. Cities are being forced to rebuild their economies, to nurture their economic growth, and to foster the growth of private companies which provide the jobs and opportunities that city dwellers need.
The future once happened in the cities. And it will again, although it will be a smaller, less imposing future in an Information Age economy that disperses and decentralizes everything from capital markets to car manufacturing. Great cities like New York, Los Angeles, and Washington are far more than “leftover baggage from the Industrial Era,” as many have suggested. America’s great cities will continue to shape our future, just as the future continues to shape itself within them.
Mr. Siegel is Professor of History at The Cooper Union for the Arts and Sciences, Senior Fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute, and author of The Future Once Happened Here: New York, D.C., L.A., and the Fate of America’s Big Cities, a new book published by the Free Press.
AT THE HERITAGE FOUNDATION’S DECEMBER 10 GALA to kick off our 25th Anniversary Leadership for America campaign, Dr. David Brown, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, announced our vision for America:
The Heritage Foundation is committed to rolling back the liberal welfare state and building an America where freedom, opportunity, and civil society flourish.
As Dr. Brown went on to note, accomplishing this vision will require many things, not the least of which is money. Among the generous gifts he announced that evening was an endowment gift from the family of Bob Krieble. Bob was a longtime Heritage Trustee and served as both the vice chairman of our Board and chairman of our Finance Committee.
Although Bob passed away last year, his memory will remain with us in the program that bears his name: the Robert H. Krieble Fellow in Coalition Relations. I am pleased to announce that the honor of first service in this fellowship belongs to Tom Atwood, who has served on the Heritage staff since 1987.
Tom earned his M.B.A. and M.A. in public policy from Regent University. As the Robert H. Krieble Fellow in Coalition Relations, he maintains liaison among some 2,000 scholars and 400 nonprofit organizations worldwide, with special emphasis on state think tanks that promote free-market public policy.
The myriad cross-currents of interests in that mix of individuals and institutions churns up problems of mind-bending complexity. Through his service at Heritage, Tom has long since proven that he is fully up to the task of handling those problems. What I want to comment on here is the inspiration that all conservatives can gain from the man to whom this fellowship is a permanent memorial: Bob Krieble.
Bob made his first major mark on the world back in the 1950s, in the improbable realm of nuts and bolts. The problem was as elementary as it was vexing: When you fasten mechanical parts together with nuts and bolts, how do you keep them from working loose and falling apart?
It was a mechanical engineer’s problem, but Bob envisioned a chemical engineer’s solution. He and his father, working together in a business that began with six customers and sales of $300 a month, perfected a bonding compound. They called it Loctite, a name coined by Bob’s wife, Nancy, who is now an Honorary Heritage Trustee. One drop would permanently wed nut to bolt. Bob and his father began producing the compound and selling it to industries that build everything from dishwashers to farm tractors. Their company, the Loctite Corporation, grew into a Fortune 500 giant.
Having caused a quiet revolution in the business world, Bob later turned his mind to politics and the consequences of another revolution—the Communist revolution that spawned the hideous specter of the Soviet Union. While American politicians were fashioning policies on the assumption that the Soviet Union was a permanent fixture on the planet, Bob thought otherwise. He was convinced that so craven a system could be undone by better people with better ideas.
Never knowing a problem he wouldn’t attack, Bob set to work nurturing the internal strengths that lay buried alive under the Kremlin’s rule. He began smuggling computers and fax machines to Soviet citizens. Making more than 50 trips himself, he organized field teams that went behind the Iron Curtain to live among the Soviet people and spread the subversive doctrines of freedom and democracy. The KGB warned President Gorbachev about these subversives, but he ignored the warning and thus invited the coup that toppled his regime.
Bob produced the first political commercials ever run on Ukrainian television. They promoted Ukrainian independence. And when 89 percent of the voters agreed with that message, their democratic will drove the last nail into the Soviet coffin.
In his every success, Bob Krieble was a model and an inspiration for conservatives today. He showed us that seemingly impossible dreams can be achieved if only we form an intelligent plan and pursue it with an attitude that knows no defeat.
Too many conservatives today are losing hope. They doubt that we can compensate for the leadership vacuum in Congress. They doubt that the liberal welfare state can be brought to collapse and that America can be set squarely on its original foundations. In short, they doubt that Heritage’s vision for America can be achieved.
The only acceptable response to them is the one Bob Krieble gave to every naysayer who doubted him, the response he gave to every obstacle that ever stood between him and his vision of great things that could be and ought to be: Yes, we can.
Dr. Feulner is President of The Heritage Foundation.
MODERN FEMINISM BEGAN some thirty years ago as a movement to liberate women. The goal of the movement was to enable women to use their talents, choose their careers and realize their potential. The current agenda of the feminist movement, however, could not have strayed any farther from its venerable origins. For as the original goals of equal opportunity were achieved, the movement mutated into a radical power play that adopted the discriminatory and result-based tenets of liberal philosophy.
Title IX of the Civil Rights Act exemplifies how the ideology of radical feminism has transformed the early aspirations of equality and fairness into a program of discrimination and gender-based outcomes. In collegiate sports for example, universities and colleges who recieve federal funds are required to provide equal opportunities to men and women. But because men tend to participate in sports at higher rates than women, university administrators—under pressure both to comply with Title IX and balance their budgets—resort simply to cutting men’s athletic slots in order to avoid the charge that women are “under-represented.” Indeed, more than 17,000 male athletes have been summarily denied the opportunity to participate in college sports as a result of the “exact proportionalty” standard that has been dubiously promulgated under Title IX
The most disturbing byproduct of Title IX, perhaps, is that women have come to believe that women’s progress is dependent upon the implementation of legislation. Those who would claim that this is the case, however, only help to make the case that further progress demands further federal laws. And framing the progress of women in this way not only denies women the very recognition they surely deserve, but paves the way for more intrusion into the personal lives of men and women across the country.
By serving as the blunt instrument wielded by federal judges and bureaucrats in the name of “gender equity,” Title IX demeans the legitimate athletic accomplishments of women. And demanding that women participate in athletics at the same rate as men under the artificial rubric of “proportionality,” not only ignores legitimate differences between men and women, but legitimate differences among women. We are not all athletes, and we are not all scholars. We look to ourselves, not the government, to know the difference.
Title IX undermines equal opportunity by forcing colleges and universities to eliminate men’s opportunities to participate in sports in order to provide few or no new opportunities for women. This is not combating discrimination against women but enforcing quotas against men and minorities. And what the government gives, it can just as easily take away. Today, the losers are men in wrestling, baseball, swimming and a host of other sports; but tomorrow, the victims of Title IX could be women denied their wish to major in French or Psychology. Who is ready to see science, math and engineering departments shrunk in size because they fail to attract “sufficient” numbers of women?
Current concerns about Title IX center on its implementation in sports, but the bureaucratic and feminist elites who have long favored the proportional implementation of Title IX are now embarking on an effort to expand its enforcement in all areas of the academy. The president, having expressed support for this initiative, has recently asked all of the federal departments to redouble their enforcement of Title IX. We cannot let this happen. At issue is not Title IX itself, which simply and correctly outlaws discrimination on the basis of gender, but the very basis of individuality and human dignity.
The only viable and lasting solution is to return to the original intent of Title IX. We must stop the wholesale elimination of men’s athletic opportunities under Title IX and halt its expansion into other areas of the academy. But before this can happen, a coordinated national campaign must be waged to educate fair-minded citizens and legislators alike about the current danger to sporting programs presented by Title IX.
Why is a group of women taking a stand against the enforcement of a law originally designed to benefit women? Because we at the Independent Women’s Forum reject the liberal syllogistic defense of government intrusion and believe in the ability of women. Title IX long ago ceased to be an effort to guarantee equal opportunities to all and became instead a crusade to allocate opportunities based on pre-determined group outcomes.
The Independent Women’s Forum is a national organization of women dedicated to the principles of individual liberty and personal responsibility, and to the imperative of equal opportunity for all Americans. Despite its laudible original intent, Title IX, as currently enforced, manages to offend each of these principles.
The Independent Women’s Forum is commited to reforming the corrupt interpretation of Title IX and “gender-preferenced” programs. Promoting these ideas, the Independent Women’s Forum recently published a book entitled Women’s Figures: The Economic Progress of Women in America, and regularly publishes The Women’s Quarterly, and the newsletter Ex Femina.
Ms. Blair is Executive Vice President and General Counsel of the Independent Women’s Forum. Ms. Gavora is Project Manager for the Independent Women’s Forum.