Saturday, January 21, 2017

The Heritage Insider: More choice and more due process in education are worthy goals, Pryor is strong on defending political speech, direct primary care is fixing health care financing, Little Pink House comes to the big screen

January 21, 2017 DeVos is right: More choice will improve education

This week, Secretary of Education nominee Betsy DeVos was challenged for her views on school choice and due process on campus. But more choice and more due process are worthy goals to pursue. William Pryor, reportedly on the short list for the Supreme Court, has a good record on defending political speech from regulation. Direct primary care is disrupting health insurance for the better, and it’s not a government program. Little Pink House, the tale of Susette Kelo standing up to eminent domain bullies, hits the big screen soon.

DeVos is right: More choice will improve education. School choice came up during the confirmation hearing for Betsy DeVos, President Trump’s nominee to head the Department of Education. Lindsey Burke has some facts on the topic, including: “Greg Forster found that, of all random assignment evaluations conducted to date, 14 out of 18 show that choice improves academic outcomes for students. Moreover, 31 of 33 empirical studies find that school choice improves academic outcomes in public schools. Forster also found that 25 of 28 empirical studies on the fiscal impact of school choice find school choice saves money.” [The Insider]

Who will defend due process on campus? During her confirmation hearing, DeVos was also asked, by Sen. Bob Casey, whether “she supports the radical view that it should be more difficult for campus sexual-assault victims to receive justice.” What’s going on here? Harvey Silverglate, co-founder and board member of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, explains that higher education has all but abandoned the idea of due process for adjudicating sexual transgressions, but those who raise this objection are being smeared as defenders of sexual assault. Silverglate writes:
“The Obama administration and certain nonprofits, including the AAUW, want to make it easier for campus disciplinary tribunals to credit the complaints of alleged victims and to punish the accused, frequently by expulsion.
“The Education Department has instructed universities to adjudicate claims of sexual misconduct using the low ‘preponderance of the evidence’ standard, in which the mere 50.1% likelihood of guilt is sufficient. FIRE argues that a higher standard may be necessary—particularly given that campus judicial systems typically lack many if not most of the procedural protections available to defendants facing criminal charges, or even civil liability, in a court of law.
“Lest anybody doubt the problem caused by the absence of due process, a quick scan of the landscape produces myriad examples. A Brandeis student sued the university after it found him guilty—without a hearing—of sexual misconduct for, among other things, staring at his then-boyfriend’s body while the two shared a bathroom. Judge Dennis Saylor, in a decision allowing the lawsuit to move forward, noted that Brandeis’s ‘inquisitorial’ process ‘appears to have substantially impaired, if not eliminated, an accused student’s right to a fair and impartial process.’” [Wall Street Journal]

Pryor has a good record on defending First Amendment rights against attempts to regulate political speech. Judge William Pryor is reportedly one of the leading candidates to be nominated to the Supreme Court by President Donald Trump. David Keating writes that Pryor has defended political speech rights in two important cases: Scott v. Roberts, which concerned Florida’s scheme to use public funds to subsidize the campaigns of candidates who raised less money than their opponents; and Beaulieu v. City of Alabaster, which concerned a city ordinance that regulated political signs more strictly than commercial signs. [The Insider]

Health care innovation, in spite of ObamaCare: ObamaCare was sold as a way of fixing the insurance market. Maybe instead of doubling down on the insurance system, the way to fix health care is to blow up health insurance as we know it. That’s what Direct Primary Care is doing—cutting out the insurers for routine care and using insurance only for catastrophic care. Think Freely Media has produced a series of videos showing how it works: “How Health Care Should Be.”

Little Pink House hits the big screen. Nearly twelve years ago, the Supreme Court brought an end to a long-running legal battle over the use of eminent domain. The Court ruled that New London, Conn., could use eminent domain to take private property and hand it over to other private parties for a redevelopment project. That decision, however, sparked a movement around the country to check the abuse of eminent domain. To date, 42 states have passed laws placing some sort of restrictions on the use of eminent domain since the decision.
The backlash happened because the Institute for Justice and homeowner Susette Kelo decided to bring the lawsuit that became Kelo v. City of New London. While the plaintiffs fell one Justice short at the Supreme Court, they succeeded in exposing the shabby behavior of New London and Connecticut politicians who hatched the plan to destroy a lower-middle class neighborhood in order to enrich a private company.
Korchula Productions has produced a dramatic film telling the story of their battle against the New London Development Corporation. It’s called Little Pink House and it’s based on a book of the same name by Jeff Benedict. The film stars Catherine Keener as Susette Kelo and Jeanne Tripplehorn as Charlotte Wells, the original head of the New London Development Corporation.
The film will have its debut soon. It is slated to be shown at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival on February 2. Additionally, it is scheduled to be shown February 9 at the Athena Film Festival in New York City.
We got the chance to see the film at the State Policy Network’s Annual Meeting last fall, and we can attest that the film is very well done. We already disliked the Court’s decision, and we disliked it even more after seeing Little Pink House.

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