– Correction: Please note the correct link to registration for the Foundation’s first event of 2012 is http://tinyurl.com/7ldaqnk. It was incorrect in the invitation distributed this week.
– Celebrating National School Choice Week, “Breaking Down Barriers to High Quality Education in Georgia” is the topic of the Foundation’s Leadership Breakfast at 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday, January 25, at Cobb County’s Georgian Club. The panel discussion features Lisa Kelly, president of the Georgia GOAL Scholarship Program; Dean Alford, president and chief executive officer of Allied Energy Services, and Lisa Gillis, president of Integrated Educational Strategies. The event will cost $25 to attend. Register by Monday, January 23, at http://tinyurl.com/7ldaqnk.
Quotes of note
– “It is easy to be conspicuously ‘compassionate’ if others are being forced to pay the cost.” – Murray N. Rothbard
– “The point to remember is that what the government gives, it must first take away.” – John S. Coleman
– “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed, and hence clamorous to be led to safety, by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.” – H.L. Mencken
– No money, no plan: A peer review group advising lawmakers on California’s high-speed rail plan said that the Legislature should refuse to authorize $2.7 billion in bond spending which would be matched by about $3.5 billion in federal dollars for the first phase of California’s high-speed rail project, SFGate reported. The group reiterated concerns about inadequate future funding and the lack of a final business plan. Read more here: http://tinyurl.com/6tgy89j. Source: San Francisco Chronicle
– You’ll rejoice when you have school choice: It’s time to “urge our legislators to let Georgia parents have the freedom to choose their child’s school,” writes Will Davis, publisher of the Monroe County Reporter. “But, Will, many parents don’t care and don’t get involved, critics say. Well, does it help that the state treats them like children, not even giving them a choice of where their child goes to school? On the other hand, it’s true that some parents are sorry. But should we allow their sorriness to dictate that we have a monopolistic, centrally-controlled school system for everyone?” Read Davis’ thought-provoking column here: http://tinyurl.com/7bdjybq.
– Digital Learning Game Changer: In case you missed it over the holidays, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology announced they intend to launch an online learning initiative called M.I.T.x , which will offer the online teaching of M.I.T. courses free of charge to anyone in the world. This is just one early indicator of how technology is transforming education at every level. Source: Forbes.com
This week in the Forum
– Editor Mike Klein reviewed, “Making the Grade in Georgia: Educational Freedom and Justice for All,” the new “must-see” documentary on school choice in Georgia, which premiered across the state Thursday night. Find out more about the documentary athttp://www.makingthegrademovie.com/. Read his review on The Forum athttp://188.8.131.52/forum/?p=1295. Klein also reports that state education finance study commission members recommended that Georgia abandon the ‘”65 rule” that mandated the minimum percentage of state funds to be spent on classroom instruction. Read these articles and more at http://forum.georgiapolicy.org/.
– Remember the phrase, “If you’re not at the table, you’re going to be the lunch.” Just about everybody who was at the table negotiating on the federal health care legislation “is turning out to be lunch after all,” notes John Goodman of the National Center for Policy Analysis. “Are you surprised at the pre-Christmas announcement that agents and brokers …are going to be toast? What about the discovery that the administration is not a friend of doctors after all? Or that hospitals are fair game any time Congress needs more money? Or that the drug companies are next? What about the insurance execs who have already lost their jobs?” Read more athttp://tinyurl.com/84tucy4.
Taxes and Spending
– Foot-dragging on transparency: Since January 1, 2011, Georgia law has required all local governments with an annual budget over $1 million to send their annual budgets (effective on or adopted after January 1, 2011) and audits (completed after January 1, 2011) to the Carl Vinson Institute of Government to be posted on a centralized Web site. To date, only 51 counties have posted their FY2012 budget documents, according to the Association County Commissioners of Georgia. Find out whether your local government has met the requirement at https://ted.cviog.uga.edu/financial-documents/index.php?q=docs.
Energy and environment
– Expensive exercise in futility: On December 23, the Environmental Protection Agency promulgated a final Mercury and Air Toxics rule, also known as the Utility MACT. The regulation, which is expected to take effect in 2015, has an annual price tag anywhere from $10 billion (EPA’s estimate) to $100 billion (industry’s estimate), making it one of the most expensive regulations ever. Its justification is to protect pregnant, subsistence fisherwomen who consume more than 300 pounds of self-or family-caught fish annually. Go to http://tinyurl.com/7vmk6zg to read testimony by the Foundation’s Benita Dodd, who opposed the rule at an EPA hearing.
– Crossing the line? On December 30, a federal appeals court stayed an Environmental Protection Agency rule targeting power plant emissions that cross state lines. The rule, released in July, would require power plants in 27 states, including Georgia, to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide that migrate across state lines. Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power, called the stay order “a major win for consumers.” He said he expected the rule would “increase electricity rates, threaten electric reliability, and unfairly penalize electricity generated from coal.” Source: Bloomberg News
Visit www.georgiapolicy.org to read the Foundation’s latest commentary, “‘Supreme Court Vetoes Federal Health Law’ – Now What?” by Ronald E. Bachman.
Have a great weekend.
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As an employer, and a parent and a graduate of Georgia public schools, I am pleased that the Foundation has undertaken this project. (The report card) provides an excellent tool for parents and educators to objectively evaluate our public high schools. It will further serve a useful purpose as a benchmark for the future to measure our schools’ progress.