Category: The Forum

Audit Finds Drug Courts Reduce Recidivism and Save Taxpayers Money

WABE reports: "The 40-page 2010 state audit finds about seven-percent of defendants who participate in a county drug court were convicted again within two years. That's one-fourth the recidivism rate compared to those who served their sentence at a state prison. Expanding drug courts, the Department of Audits and Accounts report shows, could save the state $8 million compared to the cost of incarceration. And that's only if 20% of eligible offenders participated. The problem — only about half Georgia's counties are served by a drug court. In metro Atlanta, Clayton, Douglas, Paulding, and Cherokee counties are among those without drug court access."… View Article

Mark your calendar: Jay Greene talks school choice on March 5 in Atlanta

School choice champion Jay Greene's highest priority is expanding the number and quality of education choices that parents have for their children. Greene was among the group of education policy leaders from across the nation interviewed by Reason.TV to highlight National School Choice Week. Watch the video here: Jay Greene on Making Schools Better . Then mark your calendar and watch for details of a March 5 breakfast event hosted by the Georgia Public Policy Foundation with Greene, author of the widely acclaimed book, "Education Myths" (2005). About Jay Greene: Greene is department head and 21st Century Chair in Education Reform at the University of Arkansas. Greene conducts research and writes about education policy, including topics such as school choice, high school graduation rates,… View Article

Clearing the Path for Competency-Based Learning

We now have the technology to enable students to learn at their own pace with instruction delivered digitally that is customized to each child's learning style. In a competency-based approach, each child moves from one standard to another only when they have mastered the current standard. This type of approach can "dramatically increase graduation rates for students that are falling off the track toward a diploma," according to "Clearing the Path: Creating Innovation Space for Serving Over-Age, Under-Credited Students in Competency-Based Pathways," a study published by iNACOL. Unfortunately, state policies often stand in the way. Seat-time requirements and other one-size-fits-all regulations limit the flexibility needed to address each child's needs. Georgia should immediately focus on removing these… View Article

Excellent article by Walter Russell Mead

Please take a couple of minutes and read this outstanding article on the political and economic impact of charter schools (much less their impact on actual education!) by Walter Russell Mead. It is perhaps the best written article I have read about the multiple ways charters can and will change our country. Let me know what you think!… View Article

State Spending Limit Proposed

One of the biggest challenges of Georgia's proposed tax reform is avoiding 1) a tax increase or 2) a shortfall in taxes when your rainy day fund is almost empty. Taxpayers are rightly skeptical that elected officials will reduce taxes if revenues come in higher than expected. Of course, one of the reasons we are in this mess is we spent too much money during the good times. Looking at total funds, spending increased by $4 billion from 2006 to 2008. From 2009 to 2011, spending still increased $650 million. The solution? A reasonable spending limit that would limit the high spending during good times and prevent dramatic cuts during recessions. This would also provide taxpayers a sense of security… View Article

Rome Editorial: Prison and Mental Health Reforms Desperately Needed

Good op-ed in Sunday's Rome News-Tribune: Flying over prison walls From the Rome News-Tribune, Jan. 30, 2011 — EASIER SAID than done is a saying that state leaders need to start becoming familiar with very quickly indeed. Nonetheless, it shows considerable bravery on the part of Georgia’s new governor, Nathan Deal, to allow almost the first words out of his mouth (in his inaugural address) to be: prison reform. And he’s far from alone in assigning this topic some overdue priority for attention. Indeed, there is a loud and clear message being sent to a traditionally “hang ’em high” electorate that in times such as these the state can no longer afford a rope. That hardly means Georgia plans… View Article

AJC: State could become a national model

As printed in Sunday's AJC: Atlanta Forward / Another View: State could become a national model By Kelly McCutchen Some may quibble with details, and adjustments will certainly be made, but enacting the Tax Council’s pro-growth tax reforms will make Georgia a national model and could not come at a better time. The proposals would create a true flat tax on income and modestly shift revenues to a broader retail sales tax. Both income and consumption would be taxed at a low rate of 4 percent and the tax code would be greatly simplified. Targeted tax credits would protect low-income senior citizens and families. Gov. Nathan Deal’s balanced budget requires no tax increase, clearing the way for the tax… View Article

Friday Facts: January 28th, 2011

It’s Friday!   What can you do to help the Foundation celebrate its 20th birthday in 2011? E-mail benitadodd@gppf.org to share how you can highlight the Foundation’s “20 For 20,” campaign. Will you recommend us to 20 of your Facebook friends? Will you commit to $20 a month for our 20th anniversary? If so, go to http://tinyurl.com/y9uagnq. … And let us know!   Education  Twenty-five years ago today, teacher Christa McAuliffe was to become the first teacher in space. The space Shuttle Challenger exploded soon after liftoff, killing all seven on board. Her tragic death inspired a generation of educators and hundreds of thousands of students to follow and learn about space exploration efforts. Read more here:… View Article

Georgia Needs a Lone Star State of Mind

Georgia Needs a Lone Star State of Mind  By Kelly McCutchen Jobs, jobs, jobs. That's the mantra from nearly every elected official these days, from President Obama to Governor Deal. But do government policies really have on impact job creation? And if so, what should states like Georgia be doing? Can government create jobs? Certainly, but every dollar spent by government is a dollar taken out of the private economy, where it most likely could be put to better use. "More focus should be on incentives for people and businesses to invest, produce and work," says Harvard economist Robert Barro. "On the tax side, we should avoid programs that throw money at people and emphasize instead reductions in marginal… View Article

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