Despite the powerful influence of the teachers’ union in New York City, education officials in NYC are in the process of developing new standardized tests that will be administered to students and will be used to assess teacher performance.

On May 21 the Minnesota House of Representatives passed a proposed state constitutional amendment that would define marriage as only between a man and a woman. The House vote followed similar approval of the measure in the Senate on May 11, which means that the proposed amendment will be placed on the state ballot for Minnesota voters to decide in November 2012. If passed it will make Minnesota one of more than 30 states that have actively protected traditional marriage via their state constitutions.

Marriages in America are lasting longer and divorce is declining slightly, according to a recent Census Bureau report. The research, taken from a sampling of 55,497 individuals surveyed in 2009, found that more than half of couples currently married have been married for at least 15 years, 35 percent have been married for more than 25 years, and six percent have been married for more than 50 years. The latest numbers are all one to two percentage points higher than Census statistics in 1996.

teachersAlthough the United States is generally recognized as having a free-market, capitalist economy, many services are provided by various levels of government, rather than by the private sector, which means that those services are delivered according to the socialist economic model. The American public school system provides a classic example of how that plays out. The so-called “central planners” determine what is to be taught and how it is to be taught, with virtually no input from consumers (parents and students). In fact, in the rare instances when said consumers attempt to make their preferences known, such as objecting to the use of a certain book in the curriculum, it is not at all uncommon for the teachers, administrators, and school board to “circle the wagons” and repel them.

The Department of Education released a proposal last month that dramatically alters the 1974 Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), which guarantees the privacy of student records. Critics of the proposal contend that it infringes upon student privacy and allows the government access to what should be private information.

The Department of Education touts FERPA as a law that “protects the privacy of student education records.” The current law assigns complete control over students’ educational records to the parents until students reach age 18, when the rights are then transferred to the students.