Monday Edition


1. Another Win for School Choice

Enrollment in public schools is down, homeschooling is up, parental rights groups are popping up all over the place — basically, Americans are putting the country’s K-12 education system on notice. (Fox News)

The latest message: Candidates backing school choice won or advanced to runoffs in 10 out of 13 incumbent challenges in Texas’ GOP primary elections earlier this month. School voucher critics recognized the significance of the result, with the state’s top teacher group calling it, “a sad day in Texas.”

American Federation For Children senior fellow Corey DeAngelis: “This election was a total bloodbath and a mandate for school choice in Texas. School choice was the main dividing line in all of these races. It is already sending shockwaves all across the country and the message is clear: education freedom is a political winner and a GOP litmus-test issue.”

A growing number of parents aren’t happy with what public schools are offering. 72% “considered new schools for their children last year–a 35% increase over 2022,” according to a recent survey.

Despite negative reactions from opponents, school choice has overwhelming support from a variety of groups:

  • 66% of Democrats

  • 80% of Republicans

  • 69% of Independents

  • 70% of Asian-Americans

  • 73% of Black-Americans

  • 71% of Hispanic-Americans

  • 71% of White-Americans

Bubba’s Two Cents: The iron is hot for the school choice movement because, quite frankly, public schools have not inspired a ton of confidence of late. Pandemic learning loss, chronic absenteeism, teachers unions fighting to keep schools closed and then lying about it, controversies over lessons about race and gender, hiring tons of bureaucrats while enrollment is dropping, keeping parents in the dark about their children — the list goes on and on. You could say some of these problems aren’t the schools’ fault, but enough of them are to understand why parents might be looking for options.

2. Can Noncitizens Vote? It’s Complicated.

How true is the narrative pushed by figures on the right, like Donald Trump and Elon Musk, that noncitizen immigrants are voting in and swaying elections? (Axios)

It’s illegal for noncitizens to vote in federal elections. And according to the left-leaning Brennan Center for Justice, there’s very little evidence large numbers of ineligible immigrants are fraudulently registering to vote or casting ballots.

  • The Brennan Center looked into 23.5 million votes cast in the 2016 election and found only 30 potentially illegal votes.

But noncitizens can vote in a growing number of local elections. Certain municipalities in Maryland, Vermont, California and Washington, D.C. allow the practice. The New York City Council has taken its battle to enfranchise noncitizens all the way to the state’s highest court. Earlier this month, a federal judge dismissed a challenge to D.C.'s law allowing noncitizens to vote.

Alexa Avilés, the New York City Council’s Immigration Committee chair: “Immigrants have always been the heart and soul of New York City, and their daily contributions to all of our lives and livelihoods needs to be dignified with the most basic right to vote in local elections.”

Bubba’s Two Cents: Maybe noncitizen immigrants aren’t affecting the biggest, most important elections (the presidency, Congressional races) as of yet. But letting them cast ballots in local elections seems like a slippery slope. If the rationale is they shouldn’t be denied votes because they participate in and contribute to our society (and yes, there are ways even for illegal immigrants to pay federal taxes), then it seems like allowing them to vote in federal and state elections is the next logical step.

3. What the Crime Uproar Is Really About

A common rebuttal to rising concerns about crime is that statistics show violent crime has declined in the past year — but that overlooks a big piece of the story.

A spate of high-profile incidents paint a troubling picture of how our criminal justice system functions (or doesn’t function).

  • The man accused of killing NYPD cop Jonathan Diller had been arrested more than 20 times before the fatal shooting.

  • There’s a viral trend of women in New York City sharing TikTok videos about being punched in the face. One of the suspects in these attacks has been arrested multiple times for similar crimes.

  • A man accused of a 2023 murder was released before his trial under a new Illinois law that abolished cash bail.

  • Murder charges were dismissed against one of the teens accused of beating 73-year-old James Lambert to death with a traffic cone in 2022. A teen girl involved in the attack was tried as a juvenile and received only 5 years, including time served, house arrest and institutionalization.

  • A man caught on video breaking a 57-year-old woman’s jaw with a sucker-punch was released by a Brooklyn judge last week after being charged with a misdemeanor.

  • Dexter Hubbard, who’s been accused of killing a Georgia father-of-two, has been out on bail for 7 years.

There's a growing pushback against criminal justice reform and progressive policies seen as soft on crime (like bail reform). Blue states and cities across the country are rolling back decriminalization measures and calling for more police and tougher criminal penalties.

Bubba’s Two Cents: Yeah, people’s perceptions about crime increasing are wrong. But focusing on the stats is the wrong way to look at what’s happening. People are expressing concern about the process more than the trend. There’s no doubt social media has played a role in amplifying fears about crime. But no reasonable person can look at these incidents and think our criminal justice system is working just fine.

4. One for the Road

Financial Times chief data reporter John Burn-Murdoch on a dramatic decline in birth rates in developed countries: “[With] women increasingly able to support themselves financially, one traditional reason for partnering up has been eroded. This helps explain why the most recent part of the downward trend in births has been driven not by people deciding to have two children instead of three, but by a rise in the share deciding not to have any at all.”

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