Here's the first political ad of the 2007-08 presidential cycle, from Mitt Romney, who promises "STRONG. NEW. LEADERSHIP." More to come, from Romney and many others, in the days ahead. The two videos YouTube has to follow the Romney ad are "College SagaEpisode 1" and "Citizen Hero." On the "related video" sidebar is, among others, "ROMNEY HONORS VETERANS AT STATE HOUSE CEREMONY," submitted by one "KenMehlman." That person identifies himself as Chip and gives his age as 15. "I'm not really former RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman. I am still a conservative Republican."
Mexico's PRI Votes
Good news from Mexico. The PRI (Party of the Institutional Revolution) has chosen as its new leader former Sen. Beatriz Paredes. She won 69 percent of the votes cast by some 13,000 party leaders and delegates and carried 25 of the 32 states. The PRI was the ruling party of Mexico from 1929 to 1997 (when it lost control of one house of the Congreso). PRI-ista Francisco Labastida lost the 2000 presidential election to Vicente Fox, and PRI-ista Roberto Madrazo finished a poor third in the 2006 presidential election, far behind the winner, the PAN's Felipe Calderón. In 2006, the PRI also finished third in the races for the two houses of the Congreso. (Here's my election night blog on the vote.)
But because no party has a majority in either house, PRI is still of prime importance. The good news is that as a senator, Paredes worked amicably with her colleague Felipe Calderón. Now there's a possibility she will collaborate with Calderón on essential legislation, including allowing foreign investment in the oil industry. (Here's a discussion of the problems facing the Calderón administration and a discussion of how he will address them, from an interview with Arturo Sarukhan, who has been confirmed as Mexico's new ambassador to the United States.) For those of us who want to see a surge of economic growth in Mexico, that's very good news.
Here's a report from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools on the percentages of pupils in various districts who are in charter schools. I had previously reported that Washington, D.C., had the largest percentage, 25, based on an article in the Washington Post. The NAPCS reports that two districts have higher percentages, New Orleans (a whopping 69) and Dayton, Ohio (28). Here are the numbers:
The "Top 10"
|Community||Charter Market Share||Charter||Non-Charter||All|
|1. New Orleans, La.||69%||7,815||3,578||11,393|
|2. Dayton, Ohio||28%||6,374||16,365||22,739|
|3. Washington, DC||25%||18,000||54,000||72,000|
|4. Pontiac, Mich.
Kansas City, Mo.
|5. Chula Vista, Calif.
|6. Cincinnati, Ohio||17%||7,029||35,479||42,508|
|7. Brighton, Colo.
|8. Buffalo, N.Y.
Mohave County, Ariz.
|9. Dearborn, Mich.
|10. Minneapolis, Minn.||13%||5,558||38,532||44,090|
An interesting list. Mostly central cities but also some close-in suburbs with different ethnic compositions: Dearborn has a large Arab-American population; Pontiac and Southfield have black majorities; Chula Vista and Brighton (I believe) have large Hispanic populations; Mohave County is fast-growing desert territory on the road from Las Vegas to Phoenix. The report notes that Milwaukee has about 15,000 voucher students in private schools as well as about 15,000 in public charter schools. If you included the former in the totals, Milwaukee would have 27 percent of its students outside standard public schools.
What's happening is that parents are voting for charter schools with their children's feet. Charter school opponents argued that few people would want to start charter schools; that's being proved wrong. What's being proved right is that parents in central cities and close-in suburbs want alternatives to standard public schoolsas of course do parents, many of them more affluent, who avoid living in such cities and suburbs because they don't want their kids in those public schools. What I think will be proved right, in the long run, is that standard public schools will do a better job because they're facing competition. Fifteen years ago there were virtually no charter schools or school vouchers. Now, despite the efforts of the teachers unions, there are quite a fewand they're succeeding in attracting parents.