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Student problems begin at home
Tuesday, September 2, 2003
Kids not learning what counts most
Tuesday, December 2, 2003
Friday, August 29, 2003
Students Find $100 Textbooks Cost $50, Purchased Overseas
Tuesday, October 21, 2003
The economics of school choice
Saturday, December 20, 2003
Private Schools can bring education for all
Wednesday, October 29, 2003
Yes, Virginia, There Is a Voucher
Monday, February 2, 2004
An Army of Educators Saves a Liberian College
Monday, September 1, 2003
Why private schools are essential
Required Reading:
"Education + Capitalism" by Herbert J. Walberg and Joseph L. Bast
100% eliminates the gross failures
of incompetent, tenured teachers and rebellious children
thru annually qualifying all teachers at Jn14 1Jn2 level minimum
and admitting children from qualified Bible believing families actively involved in PTA.

Student problems begin at home
By Nick Jans
USA Today
Tuesday, September 2, 2003

    It's the start of another school year with those first magical weeks of classes, when each student is eager and everything seems possible.
    But for me this year is different. Though I've been a teacher since 1977, this September school is going on without me. These first months of retirement should be, I suppose, a time to reflect proudly on what I've accomplished and perhaps even to wax a bit nostalgic. Instead, I find myself tired and troubled, overcome by the notion that I've escaped rather than retired.
    Over the years that I taught both junior and senior high, there's been a notable decline in the quality of our schools. Standardized test scores have diminished; college professors complain that high school graduates -- some of them straight-A valedictorians -- are incapable of writing a decent paragraph.
    Of course, the issue is well publicized. Countless studies and dollars have been focused on poor public school performance and how to address it. The two-year-old No Child Left Behind Act is merely the latest and most elaborate fix offered in a quarter century of handwringing, finger-pointing and pontificating.
    Unfortunately, most of that time, the effort and money have been wasted, bypassing the issue's true heart. There is something terribly wrong with our schools, but it has nothing to do with the quality of teachers, the curricula or textbooks -- or even how much money we spend. The problem is far simpler and more ominous: the students themselves.
CCCInc. Note: Increasing corruption, dysfunctional families, evil labour policies, poor teachers, stealing, waste, etc., prohibits quality education in the public sector.
    This opinion is common among teachers who've served double-digit years in the trenches. Kids these days ain't what they used to be. I know that rant has been popular since the time of the Romans. But these children are different from those of just two decades ago -- not in raw ability, but in their essential attitudes and readiness to learn. If I had a hundred bucks for every time a student cheated on a test, or had the nerve to tell me, in the middle of an impassioned lecture, that my presentation was "boring," I could be driving a new car.
    I'd suspect I was at fault, except that teacher friends of mine from Michigan to California to Alaska (where I taught) have similar stories.


    Of course there are many wonderful students. But today's kids, as a group, just don't buy into the entire adult-run institution that is modern public education. Caught up in the narcissistic values of hip-hop, immersed in ultra-violent video and computer games, casually and brazenly sexual, these kids consider themselves grown and independent by age 14, in no need of further guidance.
    Consider, for example, an April study by Jupiter Research indicating that 95% of teenage boys and 67% of teen girls regularly play video games -- including the best-selling Grand Theft Auto, where players gain points by murdering cops and beating prostitutes to death with bats.
    At the same time, a national survey in Education Week found that 74% of students admitted to engaging in "serious" cheating during the past year. Is it any wonder that a 2000 Gallup poll cited education and a decline in ethics as the two most serious problems facing our country?
    If we consider that the main function of schooling is to socialize tomorrow's citizens and acclimate them to our values, America is in big trouble. Schools, after all, mirror society; the shortcomings of the former are inextricably tied to the latter's failings. Blaming teachers because your kid can't read makes as much sense as blaming the dentist for a mouthful of cavities.
    So if not the schools' fault, whose?
    The music, movies and computer games are just symptoms. The fault lies squarely in the failures of the home, and in the disintegration of the traditional family. For many reasons -- dual incomes, divorce, separation and more -- quality face time between parent and child has shriveled. Schools struggle to take its place.
    Today, our public schools are expected to provide (in addition to academic instruction) up to two meals a day, homework help, daycare, entertainment, a sense of well-being and a basic respect for society and its laws.
    Not so long ago -- certainly in the supposedly turbulent 1960s and early '70s, when I was in school -- everyone assumed these were the home's provinces. Yet while today's parents have abdicated these basic responsibilities, they become incensed if a school disciplines their child for an issue as basic as academic dishonesty or cussing out a teacher. And, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, parent satisfaction with secondary schools continues to decline.
    Am I just another buck-passer? I sincerely hope not. I agree that our public school system bears responsibility for instructing our children. I believe it faces that task head on. U.S. schools are, in most respects, the best they've ever been. Ho-hum books and hands- off approaches disappeared decades ago. Educational theory has become a well-honed science, and new strides are being made and applied daily.
    Compare the schools of today with the first public schools in Puritan New England, when students of all levels sat on rock-hard benches in a single classroom, copying on slates and memorizing passages from dog-eared copies of the classics. The teacher received little respect in the community, and was paid accordingly. Yet no one complained about the failings of the system, and literacy rates were arguably the highest in the world. The difference then was that the home was doing its job.


    Today we indeed face a crisis in education. The stakes are just as enormous, the outcome just as uncertain, as those in the war on terrorism. Our society's very fiber is being tested.
    While it's up to our schools to continue to improve, it's also time for parents to take back the responsibility of raising and educating their own children. It's simple, actually: Read to them. Play catch with them. Discipline them. Discuss and model ethical behavior. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, "research supports the belief that high-quality education cannot be successfully accomplished without the active involvement of parents."
    Help does indeed start in the home.

[See Corruption]

Kids not learning what counts most
By Bill O'Reilly
Chicago Sun-Times
Tuesday, December 2, 2003

    After a decade of pouring billions into the public school system, the final exams are in: American kids are not reading much better than they did 10 years ago, and there's no way to spin it otherwise. The National Assessment of Educational Progress says that only 31 percent of fourth-graders read at a "proficient" level; for eighth-graders the percentage rises to 32 percent.
    This, of course, is a disaster and one that will lead to economic deprivation for millions of Americans in the coming decades.
    President Bush and former President Bill Clinton both promised that more money would solve the educational problem, but that has turned out to be false. The reason so many American students can't read very well is twofold: First, many parents do not encourage reading, and allow their kids unfettered access to TV, computers and crude music. And second, discipline in many public schools is woeful. Students simply are not held accountable for behavior and academic performance.
    Consider the following as a microcosm of what's going on. In the small town of Mount Pleasant, Mich., a 16-years-old high school junior named Alexander Smith stood up in the cafeteria of his public school and called the principle, Betty Kirby, a "skank" and a "tramp."
    Smith was suspended for 10 days. Enter the American Civil Liberties Union, which sued on Smith's behalf. The ACLU said his speech was a "parody," and therefore protected. A federal judge agreed and struck down Michigan's verbal assault law. While the judge did rule that the school had a right to discipline Smith, it could not do so simply on his abusive statements alone.
    This kind of nonsense is happening all over the USA. The ACLU, which I believe is the most dangerous organization is America, is on the prowl.

It will bring litigation against anything it sees as limiting "freedom of expression," even if that expression demeans and humiliates schoolteachers and administrators. Think about it. How can teachers possibly keep order in large schools when students know there are few consequences to outrageous behavior? Anything said can be described as "satire" or a "parody." In Houston, a survey of public school teachers finds 70 percent of them have been the targets of profane language by students. That's an awful lot of parody.
    We are living in a hypercompetitive society where the kids who can read, think and are respectful will prosper while the children who do not learn those things will, most likely, find it difficult to earn a good living as adults. The ACLU and its acolytes are succeeding in undermining almost every traditional institution in the country. Patriotism, spirituality, respect for authority and basic moral values are all under siege from a well-funded, secular lobby that envisions a society free of judgements about personal behavior. And if that society falls apart in the process, so be it.
    It is certainly true that you have a "right" to be an illiterate, unskilled person under our Constitution. You have a "right" to be irresponsible and to be lazy. Those attributes are strongly defended by the ACLU and some federal judges who believe responsible Americans should support irresponsible ones with their tax dollars. And anyone who disagrees with that thesis is immediately labeled a dreaded "conservative."
    I feel badly for Alexander Smith and for the principal he verbally assaulted. Both have been poorly served by our rapidly degenerating social system. Many Michigan kids now know they can call just about anybody a "skank" and a "tramp." But the question is, can they even spell those words?

school system will witness true practical Christianity,
offering a quality tech-based program: to produce modern students,
to compete in the global marketplace, to shine His love + power + glory.
in conjunction with
families, students and ACSI staff being qualified
by GOD's dictated Bible study tests to fully participate,
that all Bible believers may experience His benefits thru His Zion.

Review & Outlook
The Wall Street Journal
Friday, August 29, 2003

When the College Board released its most recent data on SAT scores, most of the attention zeroed in on the jump in the math averages to a level that we haven't seen in three decades. Certainly that's welcome news. But the same data also show that a stubborn racial gap in academic achievement persists. Even worse, it's widening.
A decade ago, black students taking the SATs typically scored 153 points below the national average and 187 points below the white average. Today the gap has expanded to 163 points and 206 points, respectively. But instead of working to close this gap in the places where it starts -- primarily, our lousy inner-city public school systems -- the education establishment tries to sidestep the whole thing by lowering the bar at the college level. Which is why affirmative action admissions programs periodically wind up in the Supreme Court.
If America were really serious about closing this gap, instead of squabbling over entry to, say, the University of Michigan law school, we'd be redressing the inner-city K-12 system that is so conspicuously failing to educate black children. Black moms and dads understand this, which is why overwhelming majorities continue to tell pollsters that they favor vouchers and other forms of school choice. Unfortunately, their political representatives tend to be folks allergic to any reform that involves actually holding the public school systems accountable.
In the introduction to their forthcoming book, "No Excuses: Closing the Racial Gap in Learning," Abigail and Stephan Thernstrom suggest that the learning gap today is America's main source of ongoing racial inequality. "Students who have equal skills and knowledge will have roughly equal earnings," write the Thernstroms. "That was not always true, but it is today." In other words, if you want racial equality, fix the schools. And until we begin to close the racial performance gap at its source, we shouldn't be surprised at the mess it continues to create later on.

[see Bible tests]
must use Christian Publishers
to eliminate the world's evil trade practices.

Students Find $100 Textbooks Cost $50,
Purchased Overseas
The New York Times
Tuesday, October 21, 2003

    Richard Sarkis and David Kinsley were juniors at Williams College, surfing the net for a cheap source for their economics textbook, when they discovered a little known economic fact: the very same college textbooks used in the United States sell for half price -- or less -- in England.
    Just like prescription drugs, textbooks cost far less overseas than they do in the United States. The publishing industry defends its pricing policies, saying that foreign sales would be impossible if book prices were not pegged to local market conditions.
    But many Americans do not see it that way. The National Association of College Stores has written to all the leading publishers asking them to end a practice they see as an unfair to American students.
    ''We think it's frightening, and it's wrong, that the same American textbooks our stores buy here for $100 can be shipped in from some other country for $50,'' said Laura Nakoneczny, a spokeswoman for the association. ''It represents price-gouging of the American public generally and college students in particular.''
    But thanks to the Internet, more and more individual students and college bookstores are starting to order textbooks from abroad -- and a few entrepreneurs, including Mr. Sarkis and his friends, have begun what are essentially arbitrage businesses to exploit the price differentials.
    ''We couldn't understand why what costs $120 here should cost $50-something there,'' said Mr. Sarkis, who, with Mr. Kinsley and another classmate, has spent three years building a Web-based company,, selling textbooks from abroad to students in the United States. ''It seemed so sleazy of the publishers. We were sure that college students would be shocked and outraged if they knew about the foreign prices. But it's been this big secret.''
    That is changing, though. To the despair of the textbook publishers who are still trying to block such sales, the reimporting of American texts from overseas has become far easier in recent years, thanks both to Internet sites that offer instant access to foreign book prices, and to a 1998 Supreme Court ruling that federal copyright law does not protect American manufacturers from having the products they arranged to sell overseas at a discount shipped back for sale in the United States.
    Before the Supreme Court decision, Americans could not take advantage of the discounts abroad without violating the copyright law.
    Now, however, ''gray market'' sales are taking off on campuses.


    At one prestigious university, a sophomore imported 30 biology books from England this fall and sold them outside his classroom for less than the campus-bookstore price, netting a $1,200 profit. Next semester, if all goes well, he plans to expand the operation.
    ''The only difference is that they say 'international edition' in little print on the cover,'' said the student, who added that he was not certain whether his project raised any legal issues, and therefore asked that neither he nor his college be identified.
    At other colleges, Asian students have banded together to take advantage of textbook prices in Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia, which are even lower than those in Europe.
    Many students, individually, have begun to compare the textbook prices posted on American sites like, with the lower prices for the same books on foreign sites like
    The differences are often significant: ''Lehninger Principles of Biochemistry, Third Edition,'' for example, lists for $146.15 on the American Amazon site, but can be had for $63.48, plus $8.05 shipping, from the British one. And ''Linear System Theory and Design, Third Edition'' is $110 in the United States, but $41.76, or $49.81 with shipping, in Britain.
    Many college bookstores, meanwhile, have taken matters into their own hands, arranging their own overseas purchases.
    ''I buy from and from sources in the Far East, and I knew more and more students were doing the same thing, individually,'' said Tom Frey, owner of the University Bookstore at Purdue University, who sells the new books from overseas at the same price as a used American book. ''Then this fall, for the first time, the Fed Ex man told me that the students at the Indian Association here at Purdue had just gotten a delivery of 14 skids of books, about 50 books each, from India. I think I'm losing about 10 percent of my sales to overseas books.''
    Relations between textbook publishers and college booksellers have been seriously roiled by the issue.
    ''This has become a very hot issue since last year, when it just seemed to explode all of a sudden,'' said Ms. Nakoneczny, of the college store association. The association's letter to the publishers warned that the pricing structure might be an antitrust violation. ''The sale of identical books to foreign buyers at prices significantly lower than to domestic buyers, while publicly stating that domestic prices are due to high costs, could constitute an unfair or deceptive act,'' the letter said. While there is no longer protection in the federal copyright law for the pricing differentials, the major publishers are still trying to stop the reimporting of texts priced for foreign markets, mostly through contract language forbidding foreign wholesalers to sell to American distributors. Some have placed stickers on covers, saying ''International Edition RESTRICTED Not for Sale in North America'' or added the cover line ''International Student Edition.''
    None of the three major textbook publishers -- Pearson, McGraw Hill, and Thomson -- would discuss why overseas prices are so much lower than domestic ones, referring all questions to Allen Adler, the lawyer for the American Association of Publishers.


    ''This is a season when textbook publishers get kicked around a lot, and they're feeling vulnerable,'' Mr. Adler said. ''The practice of selling U.S. products abroad at prices keyed to the local market is longstanding. It's not unusual, it doesn't violate public policy and it's certainly not illegal. But publishers are still coming to terms with the dramatic change in the law.''
    Mr. Adler contends that foreign textbook prices are pegged to the per capita income and economic conditions of the destination countries -- and that foreign sales are a boon to America's standing in the world, to foreign students seeking an American-quality education, and even to American consumers, since each extra copy sold overseas, even at a low price, helps to spread the high costs of putting out a new textbook.
    As more and more customers turn to reimporting books, it is an open question how long the overseas price differentials will last.
    ''We buy from the U.K., France, Israel and the Far East,'' said Bob Crabb of the University of Minnesota Bookstores. ''As long as the publishers are offering books at less than half the price that's available here, we'll take advantage of it. It's great for students. For publishers, the marginal costs of printing a few extra books and selling them overseas are very, very low. But I would guess that shortly, the sales here will begin eating into their U.S. sales in a serious way.''
    Disgruntlement over textbook costs has been growing in the United States as prices have risen. Last month, Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, announced that the average New York college freshman and sophomore spends more than $900 a year on texts -- 41 percent more than in 1998 -- and proposed a plan to make $1,000 of textbook costs tax deductible. The same week, University of Wisconsin students demonstrated against high textbook prices and in favor of creating a textbook rental system.
    To be sure, textbook costs, however high, are only the final straw for American college students, whose tuition costs and fees have been rising rapidly. At Williams and other elite universities, for example, tuition, room and board now tops $35,000 a year. In Britain, though, the cost of tuition is largely borne by the government and students pay much less.
    For example, tuition alone for undergraduates at Harvard is currently $26,066 a year as compared with $1,840 at Oxford University.
    In the United States, one in five students does not buy all the required texts. And more and more, like Mr. Sarkis and Mr. Kinsley, are willing to go to great lengths for a cheaper alternative. ''I got mad when I found out that our labor economics book was something like $90,'' said Mr. Kinsley, who, like Mr. Sarkis, graduated in 2001. ''I didn't think I would read $90 worth in it, so I was determined to find something cheaper, and I spent five hours searching on the Web.''
    Mr. Sarkis said Williams's campus bookstore made the high costs all too visible. ''They really rubbed it in,'' he said. ''If you were the highest spender of the day, they'd ring this little bell and say they had a new winner, and give you a lollipop. I got the lollipop twice.''
Correction: October 22, 2003, Wednesday A front-page article yesterday about sales of American textbooks overseas at lower prices than in the United States misspelled the given name of a lawyer representing a textbook publishers' association and misstated its name. He is Allan Adler, not Allen. He represents the Association of American Publishers, not the American Association of Publishers.


Some examples:
Lehninger Principles of Biochemistry
AMAZON.COM: $146.15
AMAZON.CO.UK: $71.53
Physics, Volume 1
AMAZON.COM: $93.75
AMAZON.CO.UK: $63.37
AMAZON.COM: $114.00
AMAZON.CO.UK: $71.78
Linear System Theory and Design
AMAZON.COM: $110.00
AMAZON.CO.UK: $49.81
Domestic shipping is free for orders over $25 on, though there are some exceptions. British prices have been converted to dollars and include shipping to the United States.


The economics of school choice
By Herbert J. Walberg and Joseph L. Bast
Chicago Sun-Times
Saturday, December 20, 2003

    The modern school choice movement had its roots in economics, so this oversight may come as something of a surprise. In 1962, University of Chicago economics professor Milton Friedman, who would later win the Nobel Prize for economics, produced a controversial and influential manifesto on the proper role of government in a free society titled Capitalism and Freedom. In a chapter titled "The Role of Government in Education," Friedman set out a profound challenge to the status quo of government funding and operation of schools, calling it "an indiscriminate extension of governmental responsibility."
    Friedman's endorsement of vouchers lifted the idea from obscurity to the center of the debate over how to improve schools, but writers after Friedman chose to focus on the fairness and social justice aspects of school choice, rather than the economic justification he presented. Many advocates of school choice go out of their way to avoid being labeled conservative. Some shun the word "voucher" and deny their movement has anything to do with capitalism or privatization.
    This only appears to be smart strategy. By not challenging inaccurate and negative perceptions of capitalism and of economics, voucher advocates may win some debates, but it seems clear they risk losing the war.
    A public that does not understand what markets are is being asked to trust them to provide quality educations for their children.

A conversation with an average person about how school vouchers would work in practice -- as opposed to a conversation about whether school choice is a good idea in theory -- reveals many disturbing myths and misunderstandings about capitalism.
    Many people believe capitalism encourages greed and exacerbates inequality, tends toward monopoly and low-quality products, and allows corporations to manipulate consumers and waste money on advertising. Most people believe mass illiteracy was commonplace before government took over the funding and operation of schools.
    Opponents of school choice exploit these myths and doubts in television ads, opinion-editorials and speeches by politicians that portray school choice as part of a corporate takeover of the schools or abandoning society's commitment to universal education. Proponents of market-based school reform haven't confronted the intellectual errors that form the basis for these challenges to school vouchers.
Herbert Walberg,, is a distinguished visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, and Joseph Bast,, is president of The Heartland Institute. They are coauthors of Education & Capitalism, newly released by Hoover Institution Press.

The above was excerpted from the full article which can be found at
Private Schools can bring education for all
By James Tooley
Financial Times
Wednesday, October 29, 2003

    The meeting of the commonwealth ministers of education is taking place in Edinburgh this week. High on the ministers' agenda is how poor member countries in Africa and Asia can meet their "education for all" targets for universal primary education by 2015. Missing altogether is discussion of how private education can help.
    Some may wonder why this is an issue. Surely private education is only for the elite and middle classes. But in urban slums and villages in developing countries more and more poor parents are sending their children to private schools run by education entrepreneurs, with fees of $2 a month or less.
    My research has found such schools in battle-scarred buildings in Somalia, in the shanty towns built on stilts above lagoons in Nigeria, scattered among the cardboard huts of Africa's largest slum in Kenya, in crowded villages across India and even in remote mountain regions of China. And these schools are not some minority pursuit. In the Indian city of Hyderabad, for instance, 61 per cent of children attend private unaided school; and in the slum areas 80 per cent of the poorest families got to private schools.
    Development circles are aware of this trend but there is a blinkered refusal to think through its implications. Oxfam's education report, for instances, says that private schools for the poor are emerging and that these schools are superior to government schools for the poor. But then it repeats the same old mantra, that "there is no alternative" to blanket public provision to achieve education for all. The World Bank is funding the provision of free primary education in Kenya to the tune of $80m but suburban state schools get all the money and the slum private schools get none. Meanwhile, the British Department for International Development is pouring money into government education in west Africa; simultaneously, poor parents are fleeing the state sector to send their children to private school.
    Parents are opting for private schools because of the failure of state schools across Africa and Asia. The Indian government-approved Probe report* on education paints a disturbing picture of the "malfunctioning" of government schools for low-income families. When researchers called unannounced on their random sample, only in 53 per cent of schools was there any teaching activity. In 33 per cent, the headteacher was absent. The low level of teaching occurred even in those schools with relatively good infrastructure, teaching aids and pupil/teacher ratio.
    The report says such problems were not apparent in the private schools. In the great majority -- again, visited unannounced -- there "was feverish classroom activity". So much so that most parents reported that, "if the costs of sending a child to a government and a private school were the same, they would rather send their children to a private school".


    What is happening in India is increasingly occurring in other countries across Asia and Africa. Oxfam's education report points out that the "inadequacies of public education systems...have driven many poor households into private systems" across the developing world. In particular, it cities government teacher absenteeism as a reason for poor households sending their children to private schools.
    The Probe report says the main advantage of private education is accountability. In private schools, it says, "teachers are accountable to the manager [who can fire them] the parents [who can withdraw their children]". The government schools were less transparent and "this contrast is perceived with crystal clarity by the vast majority of parents".
    If poor parents are transferring their children into private education en masse, why are the development experts saying they should be dragged back into government schools? Instead, there should be an exploration of ways in which private schools for the poor can be assisted, through loan schemes and low-cost school improvement packages. Indeed, these experts should find ways to make private schools even more accessible, with public and private vouchers.
    Poor parents have made their preferences clear. They want schools that are accountable to them, where teachers turn up and teach. It is time the politicians caught up with them.
* Public report on basic education in India, Oxford University Press 1999.

[see problems faced by Ugandan school girls]

Yes, Virginia, There Is a Voucher

    Maybe when your childhood memories include waking up at midnight to a burning cross on your front lawn, you're not going to let a Teddy Kennedy or Eleanor Holmes Norton intimidate you. Just ask Virginia Walden-Ford.
    As executive director of D.C. Parents for School Choice, the 52-year-old Mrs. Walden-Ford played a pivotal role in the landmark vouchers bill that just passed Congress. She did that with a public campaign that pushed one uncomfortable fact to the fore: How many of the Congressmen and Senators fighting hardest against school choice for black and Latino children choose private schools for their own little darlings. But the willingness to spread a little discomfort shouldn't be all that surprising coming from a woman whose father was the first African-American administrator in the Little Rock school district and who herself graduated from the same Central High that was home to the Little Rock Nine.
    "I was called 'nigger' most every day and I begged my father -- begged him -- to let me go back to an all-black school," she says of her high school experience. "But daddy wouldn't let me quit, and I learned that I was supposed to stand up and fight.
    Put the emphasis on fight. Little more than a year ago, when this reporter called the White House and the more established school choice groups about a D.C. voucher bill, the argument was the same: Washington just wasn't ready; it might take years to build up grass-roots support. But Mrs. Walden-Ford and the parents around her insisted they were the grass roots.
    And she didn't need Milton Friedman to tell her what vouchers could do. As a single mom in Washington's northeast working two jobs to support three children, she found the system in desperate shape by the time her youngest son, William, landed at Roosevelt High School: The school was a disaster and he was running with a bad crowd. But then William was given the gift of a lifetime when a neighbor offered a private voucher that allowed Mrs. Walden-Ford to put him in Archbishop Carroll, a parochial school.
    "The change in my son was immediate and dramatic," says Mrs. Walden-Ford. Within short order she would proudly sit through two graduations she believes would have been unthinkable without that voucher.

The first was from high school. The second -- the day after the 9/11 attacks -- was from Parris Island. While some of his contemporaries ended up in jail or plagued by drugs, today William is about to be deployed to Iraq as a United States Marine.
    But even after Arizona Republican Jeff Flake put choice back on Congress's legislative table, it appeared to be headed nowhere. Then City Councilman Kevin Chavous announced a public hearing, and Mrs. Walden-Ford surprised everyone by producing dozens of D.C. parents who testified they needed vouchers and needed them now. The establishment took note. Within two weeks School Board President Peggy Cooper Cafritz would write an op-ed for the Washington Post arguing that choice be given a chance. And though Mayor Anthony Williams had thrown a wet blanket on vouchers in February, by May he had been born again.
    Mrs. Walden-Ford's second critical intervention came in the Senate, where the D.C. reform faced its stiffest opposition. It was precipitated by the bombshell dropped by Republican Arlen Specter and Democrat Mary Landrieu right before a crucial Senate Appropriations Committee vote: They were switching their previous yea votes to nays. On the way out, says Mrs. Walden-Ford, Mr. Specter couldn't look them in the eye when he tried to explain himself. When Mrs. Landrieu appeared, nine-year-old Mosiyah Hall asked the senator where she sent her own kids.
    "Georgetown Day," she answered, a reference to one of the toniest private schools in the district. What really ticked off the moms, though, was when Mrs. Landrieu tried to explain to them -- without knowing any of their financial circumstances -- that even with this voucher they couldn't afford Georgetown Day. "Senator Landrieu and Senator Specter talked to us like we were brain dead," says Mrs. Walden-Ford.
    That was the moment the D.C. moms decided they needed to up the ante. The first shot was a full-page ad in the New Orleans Time-Picayune in Mrs. Landrieu's home state, with a photo of young Mosiyah under this headline: "My mom wants you to know that Sen. Mary Landrieu doesn't want me to go to the same school where her child goes." A similar ad would be run in Chicago likening Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin to George Wallace for his opposition to vouchers.


    But the most controversial was yet to come. A TV spot run during "Good Morning America" featured Mrs. Walden-Ford comparing Teddy Kennedy to Bull Connor -- the Birmingham police chief who loosed the dogs on Martin Luther King -- against a backdrop of searing civil-rights era images. "Senator Kennedy, your brothers fought for us," says Mrs. Walden-Ford, surrounded by a group of black children. "Why do you fight against us?" None of her coalition partners really wanted her to do these ads, and Mayor Williams criticized them publicly. Today Mrs. Walden-Ford not only defends the ads, she thinks D.C. vouchers might have fallen to the wayside if she'd just continued to play nice. After all, an anti-voucher vote for Democrats has traditionally had no negative consequences, while a pro-voucher vote risked irritating the teachers unions into backing a challenger in your next primary.

    The ads were never going to change the minds of die-hards such as Mr. Kennedy. But it did put them on the defensive, and some of his colleagues had to ask themselves whether this was really the kind of thing they wanted showing up in their own hometown papers and TV stations. Mrs. Walden-Ford notes that after the ads ran, Mrs. Landrieu voted "present" instead of "no" when the measure finally came up for an Appropriations vote. And during the Senate floor debate, only four Senators were willing to speak out against it.
    "When you're a parent and you go up to Capitol Hill, they're nice to you and get you coffee but then they go out and vote against you," says Mrs. Walden-Ford. "We decided we had to do something to make them take us seriously." It's probably safe to say: Now they do.

The above is by William McGurn, The Wall Street Journal - Monday, February 2, 2004
will own and operate Booker T. Washington Inst.
in Liberia, Africa; to become His business-ministry model
in Africa, to become Africa's finest ever, to become a global leader in
adult education for all marketplace applications, to shine His love, power, glory.

An Army of Educators Saves a Liberian College
By Tim Weiner
The New York Times
Monday, September 1, 2003
Jehad Nga/Corbis, for The New York Times

Jacob B. Swee, head of the agriculture department at the Booker T. Washington Institute in Liberia, helped patrol the school for the past 16 months.

    KAKATA, Liberia, Aug. 26 -- The past and the present of this nation, and perhaps its future, lie here on a thousand acres of lush countryside, at the campus of the Booker T. Washington Institute, Liberia's sole surviving institution of higher learning.
    It owes its life to the aging men who watched over it night and day for the past 16 months. While the rest of Liberia fell deeper into the latest cycle of violence in the civil war that has ruined it over the past 14 years, the institute's teachers and overseers saved it from complete destruction.
    "We have stood guard -- administrators, principals and staff -- 24 hours a day," said Alfred S. Walker, 58, the institute's elegant but bone-tired vice principal for instruction. "And we are still here. We realized the importance of our responsibility to the culture of Liberia. We put our necks on the chopping block, if I may say so, to save this place."


    The University of Liberia was destroyed this month by the raging militias of President Charles G. Taylor in the days before he left for exile on Aug. 11. The rest of the school system is a wreck.
    That leaves Booker T. Washington, named after the black American inventor and educator, who died in 1915. It was founded with American support in 1929, run by black and white Americans into the 1960's, and many of its graduates live in the United States.
    It still has desks, blackboards, classrooms and computers, and teachers aching to teach. There is no money, and no safety, but there is hope. "The reality is the school was nearly destroyed in the 1990's," said its principal, Mulbah S. Jackolli. "It was occupied, looted and smashed." The school shut down in 1990 after teachers were beaten and arrested by armed thugs loyal to Mr. Taylor, then fighting his way to power.

The New York Times

The Booker T. Washington Institute opened in Kakata in 1929.


    With the help of outside donors, principally the United States Agency for International Development, the institute was patched up enough by 2000 to admit its first full class in a decade. "That class of 840 was largely kids who had been combatants, who had lost their parents, or had been displaced by the war," Mr. Jackolli said. "They were thirsty for the skills to make a living."
    About 55 teachers and aides taught the 840 freshmen and sophomores that year. Day students paid $20 a semester; boarders $250. They learned accounting, engineering, business, home economics, secretarial work, auto mechanics, agricultural sciences, carpentry, masonry and plumbing -- skills needed to rebuild the country.
    Then came Wednesday morning, April 3, 2002. At about 11 a.m., the rebel Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy attacked Kakata and raided the institute, where they raped and kidnapped students, Liberia's Defense Ministry says. Government forces retook Kakata the next day, but the students were too terrorized to return that spring.
    School started again last September. But the government did not continue paying the teachers and administrators their salaries of $20 to $40 a month, and the war kept many students away or robbed them of their means to pay tuition. Only a handful remained for classes this spring. The campus is deserted now except for staff members who saved it and a steady stream of refugees.
    Last Tuesday, Mr. Walker and six of his colleagues took a visitor on a stroll around the campus, explaining its history.
    C. D. B. King, Liberia's 16th president, visited Tuskegee Institute, the black college in Alabama, in the late 1920's, and decided he wanted to transplant it to Africa. He hired Robert Robinson Taylor, the first black graduate of M.I.T., to design the campus and a course of instruction. A white man from Georgia, James L. Sibley, was the first principal. Though he died of malaria on June 28, 1929, the coeducational school was by then in business, backed by the Phelps-Stokes Fund, an American philanthropy, and Firestone Rubber, which controlled a nearby million-acre plantation.
    "B.W.I. played a very important role in building this country," Mr. Walker said. Those who built "its roads, its bridges, its public works, its banks," he added, "graduated from here."
    "Before the war, we had students from all over West Africa, and faculty from all over the world."
    Now, he said, "Students come here every day asking if they can enroll -- they are thirsty. But what happens to them when they graduate? Every industry in this country is closed."
    Jacob B. Swee, 39, the head of the institute's agriculture department, said a generation had been lost to war in Liberia. "The young people who should be taking over from us are lying in the bush holding a gun or sitting in a refugee camp," he said.
    The institute will reopen as soon as possible, perhaps this winter if Mr. Jackolli can raise the money to buy books and pay teachers. It will take years to restore the campus. Bids submitted in 1999 for that job ranged from $18 million to $25 million.


    The other necessary ingredient for reopening is security; there is little here today. Alumni in the United States sent a container with thousands of dollars' worth of teaching supplies last month. All were looted in Monrovia's port. Hundreds of people fled Kakata last week after rumors spread that the rebels were returning.
    The institute's 75th anniversary will be next June 29. Mr. Jackolli hopes, somehow, to raise the money needed to rehabilitate the campus and pay wages by then.
    This is how the day would go, in Mr. Walker's mind: "Our school would be reopened. We would have a homecoming. Some of our thousands of alumni in the States would come. Some of our instructional materials would be replaced. There would be jobs for our new graduates. These are some of my dreams."