Famine by Choice

| Tuesday, January 25, 2011 | 0 comments |
by Investor's Business Daily

Man cannot control the weather. But famine today is as much man-made as it is a force of nature.

Zimbabwe, for instance, was once considered the breadbasket of Africa. It exported wheat, corn and sugar cane across the continent and beyond. But the country's agriculture industry has been destroyed by a Marxist government that has seized privately owned farms in the name of "land reform."

Over a short period, Zimbabwe went from being a net exporter of food to a country dependent on international handouts. The once-fertile nation is in a perpetual man-made famine, where more than 2 million go hungry in a population of 11.4 million.

Less known is the story of Malawi. Earlier this decade, kleptocrats within the government sold off the nation's grain and kept the profits for themselves.

Governments promote famine in more passive ways as well. Another African nation, Zambia, declined food aid, mostly corn, from the U.S. in 2002, even though it was facing a famine that would affect nearly one-third of its people.

Why? Because America was offering genetically modified food, and it was the country's policy — based on Europe's unfounded fear of such products — to reject it.

Through genetically altered organisms, which pose no health problems to humans, farmers are able to plant seeds that grow into crops which are resistant to drought, cold weather, insect damage, herbicides and disease. Nutrition can even be improved through genetic modification.

Given that we have the technology to grow larger crops on smaller parcels and fly fresh food around the world to where it's needed in a matter of hours, the obstructionism is inexcusable. We need policymakers who are as advanced as today's technology.


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Charter Schools Outperform Traditional Public Schools

An Option for Learning: An Assessment of
Student Achievement in Charter Public Schools

by Liv Finne

Since the 1930s, traditional public schools have been centrally run from the top down by state legislatures, school district administrators and, starting in the late 1960s, by collective bargaining agreements negotiated by powerful unions. In addition, administrators in traditional public schools have never been held directly accountable for student performance. Public schools that fail to educate students adequately often remain open and unchanged year after year.

Key Findings:

1. Charter public schools are popular with parents; 365,000 students are on waiting lists to attend a charter public school.
2. Across the nation, over 1.7 million children now attend 5,453 charter public schools. This number increased by 9% in 2010 alone.
3. Well-run charter public schools perform significantly better than traditional public schools.
4. Charter public school students are no different in academic background and motivation than students attending traditional public schools.
5. Charter public schools in Massachusetts and elsewhere have closed the achievement gap between minority and white students.


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