Lowering Elite High School Admission Standards

Staying true to form, Bill de Blasio, the ardently “progressive” mayor of New York City, has come up with a solution to what he says is a demographic problem with the city’s elite high schools catering to the highest achieving students.


It is unacceptable, he says, that their student bodies do not reflect those of the city’s public schools. (In other words, the schools do not have enough black and Hispanic students; that they have plenty of Asian students is conveniently ignored.) So de Blasio’s answer is to arbitrarily set a quota of sorts to meet those percentages.

De Blasio cavalierly dismisses the fact that admissions are based upon competitive entrance examinations designed to maintain the highest educational standards. He claims that minority students, once in the special schools, can be expected to get with the program.

To the argument that the minority students and the schools would be better served if remedial preparatory coaching were to be made available, he says, astonishingly, that it has been tried and did not work.

So his solution is to simply scrap the entrance exams and set ideologically-motivated percentage numbers for the schools.

We wonder at the perverse logic in play here. Apparently standards in schools designed to cultivate academic excellence must be compromised in the name of  social acceptability in Bill De Blasio’s New York.



A Right To Try? Why Not?

President Trump signed a bill into law last week that will allow terminally ill people to try experimental drugs that have not been fully approved by the FDA. According to the White House, more than one million Americans die from a terminal illness each year.

At the signing ceremony, Mr. Trump said that “thousands of terminally ill Americans will finally have the help, the hope and the fighting chance…that they will be cured, that they will be helped, that they’ll be able to be with their families for a long time or maybe just for a longer time.”

One wonders why this common sense, no-brainer law was so long in coming.


The Russians and Mr. Un

It hasn’t drawn much attention, but last week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang and invited him to visit  Russia. The invitation, of course, comes in the run up to the on-again-off-again June 12 summit between President Trump and the North Korean leader.

Lavrov reportedly passed on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s good wishes. According to Russian news agencies, this was Lavrov’s first trip to North Korea since 2009.

Plainly, the Russians are not sleeping and do not intend to just allow the U.S. to co-opt the North Koreans. And while both Russia and the U.S. undoubtedly share a desire for a denuclearized Korean peninsula and can work together towards that goal, each nonetheless seeks a dominant role in that part of the world.

So, while many Americans obsess about President Trump’s possible nefarious relationship with Putin and the Russians, perhaps they should keep in mind the dynamics of international affairs. Leaders often have to deal with governments on several different levels with some interests traded off for others. What may seem to be undue and perhaps suspicious forbearance and cooperation is often Foreign Policy 101.



How’s That Again, Ms. Pelosi?

House of Representative Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi continues to confound. While we understand some politicians are simply incapable of failing to seize any and every opportunity to slam the opposition, one would hope for at least some sechel too.

Yet consider how Ms. Pelosi greeted last Friday’s announcement of some key U.S. economic markers for the month of May. 223,000 jobs were added to the economy – far greater than expected. And unemployment statistics are at historic lows – especially amongst African-Americans and Hispanics.

With a straight face, however, Congresswoman Pelosi said that, in the overall scheme of things, these figures don’t really matter all that much. What does matter, she said, was that the Trump tax cuts enriched corporations and the business community.

Left unremarked by Ms. Pelosi was the reality that the tax breaks largely enabled all the new hiring. And, of course, that American workers are now able to keep more of their money from the taxman.