Archive for January, 2011

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Hillsdale College

January 11, 2011

Hillsdale College“Pursuing Truth and Defending Liberty Since 1844”

Hillsdale is America’s premier college that teaches students and educates citizens about the blessings of liberty and about our nation’s founding principles. Hillsdale’s educational mission rests upon two principles: academic excellence and institutional independence. Hillsdale College provides students with a well-rounded traditional liberal arts education that covers an important body of knowledge and timeless truths about the human condition. But unlike other liberal arts colleges, Hillsdale emphasizes what liberty means and the moral conditions of its preservation. Hillsdale College carries out its mission both in the classroom and nationwide through its extensive outreach programs.

Hillsdale was established in 1844 by Freewill Baptists, although the college has been officially non-denominational since its inception. Hillsdale’s founders were determined to uphold the principles of civil and religious liberty articulated by the Founding Fathers of America who declared that “all men are created equal.” Hillsdale was the first American college to prohibit discrimination based on race, sex, or religion in its charter. Black students were admitted from the beginning, and Hillsdale was the second college in the nation to grant four-year liberal arts degrees to women. Hillsdale College continues to value the merit of each unique individual rather than succumbing to the dehumanizing trends of “social justice” and “multicultural diversity,” which judge people not as individuals but as members of a group competing against other groups in divisive power struggles.

The concepts of individual liberty, personal responsibility, free market economics, and limited government under the Constitution are no longer taught at many American colleges, so most students graduate with little or no understanding of what makes America unique, free, and prosperous. Today’s college professors often openly denigrate America, teaching students to distrust free markets, fear religion, and be ashamed of patriotism. In contrast, Hillsdale is dedicated to training a new generation of leaders for America who understand the Constitution of the United States, and who will uphold and defend the principles of liberty upon which America was founded. Every Hillsdale student comes to understand how the Constitution is responsible for America becoming a beacon of liberty and prosperity for the world – what President Reagan liked to call “a shining city on a hill.”

Hillsdale’s mission statement reads: “The College considers itself a trustee of modern man’s intellectual and spiritual inheritance from the Judeo-Christian faith and Greco-Roman culture, a heritage finding its clearest expression in the American experiment of self-government under law.” Hillsdale explains why America is exceptional in human history and teaches its students that: 1.) The Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution are the greatest charters of liberty ever written, and are responsible for America quickly becoming the freest, most prosperous nation in human history. 2.) The free enterprise system is essential to American freedom and prosperity. 3.) The United States is a great nation – but a nation that is in danger because our national leaders have so little understanding of the principles of liberty and limited government that are the reason for its greatness. 4.) Faith in God, far from undermining liberty as the ACLU would claim, actually supports liberty. Thomas Jefferson wrote, “…can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God?”

Hillsdale is a world-class college that can compete credibly with Harvard, Yale, Stanford, and other prominent institutions of higher learning for the best professors and students. Hillsdale consistently ranks highly in U.S. News & World Report, while Forbes magazine ranks Hillsdale as one of the “Top 100 Colleges in America” today – ahead of three Ivy League colleges. Hillsdale’s tuition is less than half the tuition at many equally prestigious schools, so Hillsdale is also listed among the Princeton Review’s fifty “best value” private colleges – even though Hillsdale does not permit its students to bring federal financial aid to campus. Unlike nearly every other college and university in the country, Hillsdale does not accept any federal or state taxpayer subsidies – not even in the form of student grants and loans. The college does this because they don’t want the government dictating who they must hire, who they must admit for enrollment, or what they are allowed to teach.

Hillsdale has built a national reputation on its principled refusal of government funding, ever since the 1970’s when the college refused to alter its admissions policies for the sake of affirmative action. But Hillsdale does not want expense to be a barrier for any qualified student to attend, so the college offers competitive privately-funded financial aid packages. Need-based, athletic, fine arts, and academic awards are available. Scholarships include the William and Berniece Grewcock Scholarship for students who graduate from Nebraska Christian or parochial high schools or homeschoolers from Nebraska. Recipients of this scholarship must meet Hillsdale admissions standards, be of sound moral character and of proven leadership ability, maintain a minimum 3.0 grade-point average, agree to community/campus service requirements and participate in campus Christian organizations.

More than 1,400 students – including about 90 homeschoolers – attend Hillsdale from 45 states, the District of Columbia, and eight foreign countries. The incoming freshman class averages a high school grade-point average of 3.73, a composite ACT score of 29, and a combined SAT score of 1970. In addition, 50% of incoming freshmen rank in the top 10% of their high school graduating class. Hillsdale is highly selective; only one applicant is accepted for every two applications received. The Office of Admissions considers the following: GPA, SAT/ACT scores, official academic transcripts, extra-curricular involvement (leadership and volunteerism are important), interview, essays, and letters of recommendation. Admission requirements for homeschoolers are the same as regular applicants, but their recommendations do not have to come from teachers, and a parent is asked to write a letter about the student’s education.

Jeffrey Lantis, Director of Admissions, says, “We tend to look very favorably upon homeschoolers applying to our college. Homeschoolers are consistently among our top students.” He offers the following advice for homeschool students interested in attending Hillsdale: “We look to extracurricular activities, and community involvement to see leadership development in our applicants. Volunteer work in outreach organizations, employment, community music groups, and sports teams all provide the opportunity for homeschooled students to show us the leadership skills they’ve gained.” While Lantis finds homeschoolers to be strong students and good campus leaders, this admissions director has noticed that handling peer pressure is a weakness among homeschoolers at Hillsdale.

Located in rural southern Michiganat the bottom of the mitten near where the Ohio and Indiana borders meet, the 200-acre Hillsdale campus contains both historic and modern buildings. Facilities include multiple instructional and office buildings, subject-specific computer labs, thirteen residence halls, six fraternity and sorority houses, a state-of-the-art health education and sports complex, a music hall, arts center, and an arboretum. Adjacent to the campus is Hillsdale Academy, a private K-12 liberal arts school that emulates a one-room schoolhouse education. Their comprehensive downloadable Reference Guide is used in hundreds of schools and homeschools throughout the country.

Hillsdale College employs 116 full-time faculty members and maintains an ideal student-to-faculty ratio of 10-to-1. Hillsdale offers a variety of liberal arts majors including 34 traditional majors and eight interdisciplinary majors, as well as nine pre-professional programs, a teacher education program, and a journalism certificate program. Its maintenance of a classical core curriculum exemplifies the traditional liberal arts program. All students, regardless of major, are required to take courses in humanities, natural science, and social science during their first two years. A broad perspective is also encouraged through community volunteerism and opportunities for off-campus internships, overseas study programs, and adjunct seminars.

Hillsdale boasts one of the largest and most distinguished lecture programs in the country. Hillsdale’s Center for Constructive Alternatives (CCA) has sponsored more than 1,100 speakers since 1971, including conservative luminaries such as Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, and Walter Williams. Students are required to attend two hours of CCA seminars in order to graduate. In addition, there are Mises Lectures in free-market economics, National Leadership Seminars, and seminars at the Charles R. and Kathleen K. Hoogland Center for Teacher Excellence. Launched in June of 2001, the Center for Teacher Excellence expands the reach of Hillsdale’s message of classical curricula for the advancement of liberty to a nationwide audience of teachers. Over 1,000 public, private and homeschool teachers from 38 states have participated in the seminar series in American civics education.

Hillsdale’s new 16,000-square-foot Allan P. Kirby, Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship in Washington, D.C. officially opened in December 2010. The renovated building, which dates to 1892, is located just a few minutes’ walk from the Supreme Court building, Senate office buildings, and Union Station. It will serve as a headquarters for Hillsdale students who are serving as interns in government, the media, and think-tanks on Capital Hill. Additionally, the Kirby Center will hold educational programs and provide research on the Constitution and America’s founding principles for elected officials and other policymakers. Besides educating our leaders to have a greater appreciation for America’s heritage of liberty and limited government, the Center will educate American citizens on the vital importance of the Constitution.

Hillsdale College is also making its educational programs on liberty available to millions of Americans via “Constitution Town Hall” webcasts on the internet. More than 50,000 citizens from all fifty states have viewed “Reviving the Constitution,” Hillsdale’s first-ever online town hall which was originally held on January 30, 2010. The entire program of “Reviving the Constitution” is available for free online, courtesy of the Kirby Center. It features almost five hours of instructive content, including presentations on the Constitution, its framework for the protection of our liberties, and the assault waged upon that framework by the Progressive movement. This resource is also available as a two-disc DVD set for viewing at home, in classrooms, or with church groups and civic associations. The DVD is available for online purchase exclusively from the Hillsdale College bookstore.

Hillsdale’s flagship publication IMPRIMIS (Latin for “in the first place”) dates back to 1972 and has a current circulation of 1.9 million. Subscriptions are available to anyone free of charge. This always timely, always informative monthly digest of speeches delivered by conservative leaders from a variety of fields features commentary and analysis on national and international events concerning cultural, economic, political and educational issues of enduring significance. In early 2011 the Kirby Center will publish “The U.S. Constitution: A Reader,” a collection of more than 100 primary source documents relating to America’s founding, the Civil War, Progressivism, and American government today. “The Constitution is not just the domain of judges and lawyers,” states Kirby Center Director Dr. David J. Bobb. “It’s the responsibility of all Americans to understand and uphold it, and our aim…is to help equip citizens to do so.”

For more information about all that Hillsdale has to offer, visit the following websites:

Hillsdale College – http://www.hillsdale.edu

Hillsdale Academy – http://www.hillsdale.edu/academy/academics/curriculum.asp

Center for Teacher Excellence – http://www.hillsdale.edu/seminars/oncampus/cte/default.asp

Kirby Center – http://www.hillsdale.edu/KirbyCenter

Constitution Town Hall – http://www.constitutiontownhall.com

IMPRIMIS – http://hillsdaleoffer.com

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Jaime Herrera Beutler

January 11, 2011


 Jaime Herrera

 

The 112th Congress that began on January 5, 2011, includes a huge class of freshman. Few of the incoming freshmen know Capitol Hill better than Jaime Herrera (R-WA). Jaime was one of the female Republican candidates who rose to prominence in 2010, and she was highlighted by Time Magazine as one of the 40 leaders under 40 who are “rising stars of American politics.” Jaime will also be the first homeschooled member of the United States Congress in recent history.

Jaime was born on November 3, 1978, in Glendale, California. She grew up in Southwest Washington where she participated in activities like 4-H, fishing at Battle Ground Lake, swimming in the Lewis River, climbing Mt. St. Helens, and helping with local political campaigns. Jaime was homeschooled through ninth grade. She graduated from Prairie High School where she played on the girls’ basketball team. Before starting college she performed 2,000 hours of community service at ground zero in New York after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack. Jaime received an associate’s degree from Bellevue Community College in 2003, and earned a B.A. degree in communications and political science from the University of Washington in 2004.

Jaime launched her political career in the same year she graduated from UW. She won a White House internship with the Bush administration, arriving at the tail end of the presidential campaign. As a college student, she had the opportunity to intern in both the Washington State Senate and in Washington, D.C. at the White House Office of Political Affairs. From 2005-2007, Jaime worked in Washington, D.C. as Senior Legislative Aide for Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Spokane). She was the Congresswoman’s lead advisor on health care policy, education, veterans’ and women’s issues. She also helped draft proposals, including a health information technology bill and an education-based competitiveness bill. Both measures passed the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly.

In 2007, Herrera was appointed to fill a vacancy in Washington State’s 18th Legislative District. After serving in the 2008 legislative session she ran for election and 60% of the voters in her district cast their vote for Herrera to continue her post as State Representative. During her time in the Legislature, Jaime served on the Health Care and Wellness Committee, the Human Services Committee, and the Transportation Committee. Representative Herrera’s first bill, a bipartisan proposal to give tax relief to business owners serving in the military, was signed into law on March 27, 2008.

Herrera’s congressional campaign was one of the high-profile races that national observers were watching in hopes of tipping the balance of the House. Jaime is a fiscal conservative who ran on a small-government platform. “I do believe in smaller government, less government at every possible turn,” she said. She is a supporter of the U.S. Constitution and works to uphold our freedoms and liberties. She aims to bring a fresh voice to Congress and restore commonsense leadership in order to get the economy back on track. “My parents taught me God first, family second, and service to community a close third,” Jaime said. “Those were the values of our region, too: personal responsibility, [and] a strong work ethic,” she added.

Jaime has class, character, and decent social and moral values. One of Jaime’s political heroes is Abigail Adams, who was one of our country’s most influential “founding mothers,” as well as the homeschooling mom of John Quincy. Jaime said that she decided she was a Republican after leaving home and reflecting on the values she’d learned from her own family. In 2006, through their church, they became involved in gang prevention. Jaime’s parents, Armando and Candice Herrera, adopted his brother’s three children to rescue them from the influence of drugs and gangs in Southern California.

Jaime says, “I am not opposed to safety nets. They are a part of our communities and our society. I’m the first to say when it comes to our most vulnerable citizens – children, seniors, folks fighting disability – we have a safety net for a reason. I think protecting our most vulnerable is actually a conservative principle.” However, Jaime believes that the government is becoming disconnected from the people it represents. “I think government has gotten a little too big for its britches… It is taking more and more ability from individuals and families to decide how they’re going to spend their money… I think we are at a point as a country when we are going to have to decide: Are we going to be in charge of our democratic republic, or is it the other way around?”

As a Congresswoman, Jaime says she will support an amendment that would require a balanced federal budget, emphasizing that the government needs to cut its spending to resolve the federal deficit. She thinks that Congress should “live within its means just like families, businesses and individuals do.” Jaime feels that the stimulus plan was misguided and that the stimulus money would have been more effective circulating in the economy. “We just need to get government out of the way and let small business do what they do best, which is create jobs,” she explains. The federal government should likewise eliminate regulations that stifle competition, she argues.

In a similar manner, Jaime said the federal health care bill should be repealed. She proposed small businesses be allowed to band together, even across state lines, in providing health care to their employees at lower cost. Jaime opposes abortion rights and opposes extending legal partnerships to same-sex couples. Jaime believes the federal government should take a smaller role in education and cede to local control of schools. On the issue of illegal immigration, the Hispanic young lady says, “We need to prove to the American people that the government can secure the border. I don’t support amnesty. People do need to learn English.”

Jaime revels in the excitement of belonging to the biggest group of House newbies in decades, and she is eager to get started because there is a lot of work to do. As she sees it, voters elected her to slim and streamline the government – and have given her two years to get the job done. “The fact that they chose me to be their voice here is an honor,” Herrera said. “You want to live up to that promise.” Jaime states her purpose very clearly: “I will be a member of Congress more concerned with saving your money than spending your money.”

Herrera admits to being ambitious but also conflicted. “I do believe that the American dream, which is to pass on a better life to our children, is in danger.” Eventually, she and her husband Dan (who she married in August 2008) want a family, but they will have to “put our lives on hold,” she admits a bit wistfully. Nevertheless, Jaime declared, “Every step I have taken since high school has been preparing me for this. There is not a job in the world I would rather have…. I have this amazing, tremendous responsibility and it is not something everyone gets a chance to do.”