Thursday, May 23, 2013

New Laws Finally Target Sex Trafficking in Tennessee

Precisely two years ago on this date, I was compelled to write about a despicable and horrible reality in Tennessee and the South - the widespread rise of sex slavery and human trafficking.

The TBI had at the time present a report that over 80% of the state was stained with this heinous crime, a deeply disturbing fact. Even worse, those who committed these crimes faced little or no consequences.

Today, I am happy to report, that is no longer the case  - the state has passed 12 new laws to punish those who practice slavery. Tom Humphrey reports:

"The measures amplify a wave of attention since a statewide study in 2011 documented incidents of sex trafficking -- which officials define as coercive adult prostitution and any sexual exploitation of children.

"We have been adding (laws) for the last two years, but this year, by far, is the biggest," said Margie Quin, an assistant special agent in charge at the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. "I would label this as sweeping changes.

"Of the laws going into effect July 1  ... Authorities will be able to prosecute those paying for sex - the 'johns' - as traffickers."

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Tennessee Education Reform Ignores Models of Success

The obvious flaws in "education reform" pushed in Tennessee and other states by Michelle Rhee and her ex-husband, TN Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman, are to heap blame on teacher unions, ignoring the real improvements which focus instead on education itself.

"Only a tiny percentage of American children attend the kind of expensive, non-sectarian private schools where many of the elite send their children. It is worth noting that these schools generally avoid giving their students the standardized achievement tests that state education departments require, making the results public, and paying teachers on the basis of the scores, and that they almost never claim to be creating hyper-competitive, commercial-skills-purveying environments for their students. Sidwell Friends, of presidential-daughter fame, says it offers “a rich and rigorous interdisciplinary curriculum designed to stimulate creative inquiry, intellectual achievement and independent thinking in a world increasingly without borders.” That doesn’t sound like it would cut much ice with Michelle Rhee."