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Ben Carson is full of it. America’s favorite ultra-conservative Fox News personality is criticizing Common Core for all the wrong reasons.

The program will take the power to set education standards from the states and place it in the hands of the federal government. This move has inflamed conservatives and has led them to decry the program as a federal takeover of education and as a move by the Obama administration to force the values of Washington upon school children across our 50 states.

While I wouldn’t go this far in my own personal criticism of Common Core, I will acknowledge that the program is befuddled with problems. Namely, the Common Core standards still place standardized test scores as the benchmark for how we determine whether children are learning. It is asinine to think that failure to pass a standardized test is an indication of low intelligence or an inability to learn.

Our society’s obsession with testing is deeply disturbing. Education in this country needs to be fundamentally re-envisioned. It simply does no good to scrap the old standardized tests and replace them with new standardized tests. Common Core does exactly this and should be rejected as a result.

However, Dr. Carson has other reasons to despise Common Core, and (shockingly) his reasoning is stupid.

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My first Students For Liberty Regional Conference irrevocably changed me and my path in life for the better. That probably sounds like an overstatement—and if you’ve never experienced an SFL RC before, I understand your skepticism. Can one weekend really impact someone so much? But having attended both the Arizona and Southern California RCs last year, I can vouch for the powerful nature of putting libertarians and liberty-minded people together for a whole day. Being surrounded by like-minded people with the common intention of developing ideas and forming communities is the perfect platform to expand one’s own knowledge, passions, and relationships. Although the RC is an opportunity to teach others and inspire change, it is also intrinsically an opportunity for self-evaluation, improvement, and enlightenment.

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The following was written by Linda Kavuka, an African Students For Liberty Executive Board Member. 

The Women For Liberty Seminar held on October 11th at the University of Nairobi was the first of its kind in Kenya. It attracted over 50 participants, with some traveling from as far as Eldoret (6 hours away) and Kitui (3 hours away), both out of town. The fact that women were the target audience also did not deter men from attending. The conversations that came up were very interesting, as the participants challenged each other, asked questions, and came up with solutions to the highlighted issues. This particular audience was very inspiring, being made up of ladies and gents form different schools and faculties of study. Liberty and Leadership formed the agenda for the day as this seminar was taking a different approach from the usual tired topics. Women have been empowered and it is time for young ladies to stop complaining and take advantage of the numerous opportunities accorded to them thanks to increased educational opportunities in the developing world. It is time for women to contest for leadership positions in society, politics, and the economy. (more…)

Little Guides to Big Ideas is an SFL educational series introducing important libertarian thinkers. Each post is written to give liberty-minded students a starting point to learn from the great movers and shakers who have contributed to the ideas of liberty. The entire Little Guide to Big Ideas series can be found here

“A writer is someone who has taught his mind to misbehave.” – Oscar Wilde.

Who: Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) was an Irish writer and poet. He is popular today because of the intensity with which he lived his life and because of the wit and wisdom he showed in his writings, especially his plays and epigrams.

Why he matters: Wilde considered himself a libertarian socialist and even though he had mixed ideologies, his main concern was reaching an individualist society focused on individual flourishing and enlightenment. He thought that altruism was a false cure to poverty and that the way to eradicate it was through competition. Wilde stressed the difference between authoritarian socialism and individual socialism, advocating for a more libertarian approach. His major libertarian work is his poem A Sonnet to Liberty, and after reading some works of Peter Kropotkin he declared himself an anarchist. The British government ruined Wilde’s life by imprisoning him two years under the charge of homosexual acts. After being released, both his health and career decayed.

If you only read one thing: Read The Importance of Being Earnest, which is a satire on society’s morals and obligations of the time.

Major works available online:

Learn more about Wilde:

Introduction to Wilde and his World 

The Religion and Political Views of Oscar Wilde

70 Brilliant Oscar Wilde Quotes

Oscar Wilde in America

I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t consider myself a politically correct person. I curse. I enjoy Cards Against Humanity and South Park. My sense of humor is not always appropriate in mixed company. After all, why should I bother with political correctness when it’s all just left-wing propaganda used to stifle my right to free speech? No one has the right to not be offended.

I used to think that there was absolutely nothing remotely libertarian about political correctness; I thought the idea was directly contrary to freedom of speech, which should always take top priority. Like most things, it’s not that simple. On the one hand, freedom of expression is one of the primary tenants of libertarianism, but on the other, so is respecting the dignity of the individual. Should we really defend those who knowingly and unapologetically say things that might demean others? Besides, campaigns such as the Spread the Word to End Word campaign, don’t advocate for a government that punishes citizens for saying offensive words, but instead aim to educate the public about why certain words are offensive so that people will change their behavior voluntarily.

Ultimately, if I say something that offends someone, that someone has every right to tell me they’re offended and ask me to stop. That person’s right to speak out in favor political correctness is just as valid as my right to be politically incorrect. It’s true that no one really has the right to “not be offended,” an argument I commonly hear from those who dislike political correctness. However, I rarely hear about the opposite right, the right to be offended by someone else’s speech, and more importantly, the right to say something about it.

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