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Tags: Florida | Schools | Ban | Bibles | Non-Mexicans Surging Across Border | Taxpayers Nix Free Community College | Muslim Dutch Mayor Tells Islamists Pack Your Bags

Fla. Schools Ban Bibles; Non-Mexicans Surging Across Border; Taxpayers Nix 'Free' Community College

By    |   Sunday, 18 January 2015 03:36 PM

Insider Report

Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. School Vouchers Boost College Enrollment
2. Number of Mexicans Caught at Border Lowest Since 1970
3. Americans Unwilling to Pay for Free Community College
4. Muslim Dutch Mayor Tells Islamists: Pack Your Bags
5. Florida Schools Ban Bibles to Appease Atheists, Satanists
6. Feds Dole Out $106 Billion in 'Improper' Payments

1. School Vouchers Boost College Enrollment

For the first time, research has shown that school vouchers have a long-term positive impact on some students’ college enrollment and graduation rates.

Vouchers provide tuition aid to students in public school districts to help them instead attend a private school of their choice.

Most studies of vouchers have looked at their short-term effects on student performance and parental satisfaction. The new research examines vouchers' impact on students' success at the higher-education level.

Matthew Chingos of the Brookings Institution and Paul Peterson of the Hoover Institution studied 1,000 families in New York City with children in grades one through five who received vouchers from a nonprofit organization beginning in 1997.

The result: Among disadvantaged minority students, those receiving the vouchers were 10 percent more likely to enroll in college than were minority students in traditional public schools.

They were also 35 percent more likely to obtain a bachelor's degree, the researchers noted in a report published by Education Next.

Vouchers had little effect on non-minority students in terms of college enrollment and graduation.

Opponents of school vouchers assert that they put public education in direct competition with private education, threatening to reduce and reallocate public school funding to private schools. Teachers and teacher unions have fought the vouchers.

Proponents say vouchers promote free market competition among both private and public schools, and incentivize schools to increase accountability and school performance.

Now proponents have new ammunition in their effort to expand voucher programs — enhanced college enrollment and graduation among minority students receiving the aid.

The researchers also found that students born in the United States were more likely to enroll in college and more likely to obtain a bachelor's degree if they used a voucher, while no significant impact was found for immigrant students.

Editor's Note:


2. Number of Mexicans Caught at Border Lowest Since 1970

Last year marked a milestone in illegal immigration in the United States — it was the first year on record when more foreign nationals classified as "Other Than Mexican" were apprehended at U.S. borders than Mexicans.

An analysis of 60 years of Border Patrol data by the Pew Research Center shows that unauthorized immigrants from Mexico are crossing the U.S.-Mexican border far less often than they did before the Great Recession.

About 229,000 Mexicans were apprehended by the Border Patrol in fiscal 2014, compared to 257,000 non-Mexicans.

By far the greatest number of "Other Than Mexican" apprehensions were made in the Border Patrol's Rio Grande Valley sector, 192,925.

In 2007, before the recession, 809,000 Mexicans were apprehended at the border, compared to just 68,000 non-Mexicans.

The number of Mexican aliens apprehended peaked at 1.6 million in 2000, while the 2014 total was the lowest since 1970, when 219,000 Mexican were apprehended. That year just 12,000 non-Mexicans were caught.

"The recent increase in non-Mexican apprehensions is due in part to a surge in unaccompanied Central American child migrants crossing the border without their parents," Pew observed.

Nearly 42,000 unaccompanied children from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras were apprehended at the U.S.-Mexican border in fiscal 2014, double the total from the previous year.

Mexicans still comprise the majority of unauthorized immigrants in the United States today — an estimated 5.9 million, 52 percent of the total, compared to 1.7 million from Central America and 1.4 million from Asia.

The Border Patrol data analyzed by Pew also reveal that in fiscal 2014, the Border Patrol seized 1.92 million pounds of marijuana at the borders, along with 4,554 pounds of cocaine, 3,930 pounds of methamphetamine, 9,691 ounces of heroin, 517 firearms, and 63,701 rounds of ammunition.

Editor's Note:


3. Americans Unwilling to Pay for Free Community College

Nearly half of American voters favor President Barack Obama's plan to make community college tuition-free for promising students — but not if they have to pay for it.

A new Rasmussen Reports survey found that 47 percent of likely voters favor the president's plan, while 39 percent oppose it and 14 percent are undecided.

But just 34 percent said they are willing to pay more in taxes so that students can attend community college for free, while a majority, 57 percent, said they are not willing to pay more to support the program.

Democrats are far more likely than Republicans to favor Obama's proposal — 73 percent said they favor it, compared to 22 percent of Republicans.

Democrats are also more likely to be willing to pay for the plan — 58 percent said they would pay more, while just 11 percent of Republicans agree.

Interestingly, nearly 30 percent of voters ages 65 and over would pay more to send students to community college tuition-free.

Rasmussen also found that 32 percent of voters, and half of Democrats, believe the government should make college tuition-free for every student who wants to attend, while 57 percent disagree.

Nearly four in 10 voters, 38 percent, think the federal government has a responsibility to make sure that more Americans go to college, but 54 percent overall and 80 percent of Republicans said that is not a job for the government.

Americans generally have serious reservations about the nation's colleges. Just 28 percent of Rasmussen respondents think most college graduates have the skills needed to enter the workforce.

Editor's Note:


4. Muslim Dutch Mayor Tells Islamists: Pack Your Bags

Following the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris, the Muslim mayor of the Netherlands' second-largest city used an expletive in telling Muslim immigrants who don't appreciate Western values to pack up and go elsewhere.

Ahmed Aboutaleb, who became mayor of Rotterdam in January 2009, appeared on television hours after the Paris shootings and said Muslims "who do not like freedom can pack your bags and leave.”

"It is incomprehensible that you can turn against freedom."

Referring to the Islamic terrorist attack on the French satirical magazine, he said: "If you do not like it here because some humorists you don't like are making a newspaper, may I then say you can [expletive] off.

"This is stupid, this is so incomprehensible. Vanish from the Netherlands if you cannot find your place here. All those well-meaning Muslims here will now be stared at."

Aboutaleb, the son of an imam, was born in Morocco and moved to the Netherlands in 1976. He is the first immigrant to become the mayor of a major Dutch city, the Telegraph reported.

Shortly after he was appointed mayor — mayors are not elected in the Netherlands — he said his message to immigrants is to "stop seeing yourself as victims, and if you don't want to integrate, leave."

Rotterdam's population of more than 610,000 includes about 80,000 Muslims, 13 percent of the total, according to a 2010 count.

London Mayor Boris Johnson recently wrote in the Telegraph about Aboutaleb: "This is the voice of the Enlightenment, of Voltaire. If we are going to win the struggle for the minds of these young people, then that is the kind of voice we need to hear — and it needs above all to be a Muslim voice."

Editor's Note:


5. Florida Schools Ban Bibles to Appease Atheists, Satanists

Officials at a Florida school district have banned the distribution of Bibles in area high schools after an anti-religious group and a Satanist organization announced plans to pass out their own materials.

Orange County Public Schools, a large school system with more than 180,000 students, had for the past three years allowed the Christian group World Changers of Florida, along with the Florida Family Policy Council, to distribute Bibles on Jan. 16, National Freedom of Religion Day.

The Bibles were placed on a table in a common area for students to pick up if they chose to, CNS News reported.

Last year, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, an atheist group, lost a battle to have all outside materials banned from the schools. The group then sued for the right to distribute its own literature in the schools.

One of the groups' proposed pamphlets was titled "An X-Rated Book: Sex and Obscenity in the Bible." The cover showed a cartoon Bible sexually assaulting a woman.

The school system relented in the court battle and gave the group permission to pass out the materials.

This year, the Satanic Temple also announced plans to distribute literature in the high schools, including information about what the group asserts is "the legal right to practice Satanism in school."

Now the school system has stated that it will not permit any outside materials to be distributed, including atheist and Satanist literature — and Bibles.

School officials have proposed a new policy stipulating that "materials of a denominational, sectarian, religious, political, and partisan nature shall not be permitted to be distributed."

Florida Family Policy Council President John Stemberger believes school officials caved in to pressure after parents at board meetings protested Satanist materials being made available to students.

"This is precisely what the Freedom From Religion people want," he said. "They want to get rid of religion, and that's their strategy. And everybody's played into the strategy. It's unfortunate."

Editor's Note:


6. Feds Dole Out $106 Billion in 'Improper' Payments

Federal spending has grown too massive to be adequately overseen.

That's the conclusion reached by two researchers based on the latest federal estimates showing that government programs made $106 billion in "improper" payments in fiscal year 2013 — payments that violated guidelines or rules in some way.

Fraud accounted for some of the improper payments, but others resulted from simple clerical errors or a failure to confirm that a recipient was eligible to receive the amount of money that was distributed, according to Veronique de Rugy and Jason J. Fichtner, senior research fellows at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has designated 13 federal programs as "high-error," meaning that they have high rates of improper payments.

The Earned Income Tax Credit had the highest improper payment rate in 2013, 24 percent, indicating that the program is particularly vulnerable to fraud, waste, and abuse. The National School Lunch Program had a 15.7 percent improper payment rate, the Medicare Fee-for-Service program had a 10.1 percent improper payment rate, and Unemployment Insurance had a 9.3 percent rate.

Based on absolute spending rather than the error rate, the program with the highest amount of improper payments was Medicare Fee-for-Service, $36 billion, followed by the Earned Income Tax Credit ($14.5 billion), Medicaid ($14.4 billion), and Medicare Advantage ($11.8 billion).

The researchers point out that "there is reason to believe" the OMB significantly underestimates the taxpayer dollars lost to fraud and bureaucratic ineffectiveness.

They add: "While people on both sides of the political aisle can debate the merits of whether or not government should be involved in certain activities, no one in good conscience should tolerate the high levels of improper payments currently associated with government spending on social welfare programs."

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Editor's Note:


Editor's Notes:

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Insider ReportHeadlines (Scroll down for complete stories): 1. School Vouchers Boost College Enrollment 2. Number of Mexicans Caught at Border Lowest Since 1970 3. Americans Unwilling to Pay for Free Community College 4. Muslim Dutch Mayor Tells Islamists: Pack Your Bags 5....
Florida, Schools, Ban, Bibles, Non-Mexicans Surging Across Border, Taxpayers Nix Free Community College, Muslim Dutch Mayor Tells Islamists Pack Your Bags, Feds Dole Out 106 Billion in Improper Payments
Sunday, 18 January 2015 03:36 PM
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