Category: Commentaries

Web-based Tool Helps Educate Parents on Great Schools

By Benita M. Dodd BENITA DODD One of the paternalistic charges leveled by opponents of education choice is that many parents don’t have the information to make decisions about an education path or a school for their child. For parents in the five counties that hold the vast majority of metro Atlanta residents, a new interactive Web-based tool could finally squelch that argument. About 500 people watched a live demonstration of the tool,, when it was officially launched September 26 at the 2015 Neighborhood Summit organized by the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta. The interactive, collaborative and mobile-friendly tool allows parents to compare up to four schools at a time – public or private – and provides parents,… View Article

Reforming Medicaid with Technology

By Merrill Matthews  Every state is looking for ways to reduce its Medicaid spending. Here’s an untested idea: Integrate existing technology to help Medicaid beneficiaries and their health care providers monitor and manage their health care. Medicaid’s Scope The federal-state Medicaid program is by far the largest health insurance plan, covering 62 million Americans, and it is the first or second biggest budget item in most states. Actually, Medicaid is three different programs. It provides health insurance for low-income children, pregnant women and some adults, covering about 40 percent of all births, and more than 50 percent in some states; It is the primary source of coverage for the disabled; and It covers certain costs for poor seniors, including nursing… View Article

Stifling Debate: Transparency vs. Privacy

By Kelly McCutchen  KELLY McCUTCHENPresident, Georgia Public Policy Foundation Would you respond honestly at a public meeting in your community if the speaker asks you to raise your hand if you support gay marriage, a ban on abortion, restrictions on gun purchases or legalization of marijuana? What if the meeting was being videotaped?  For some individuals, expressing their honest views in a public forum could threaten their friendships, their business … even their jobs.  Thankfully, citizens who feel strongly about an issue but concerned about the repercussions of speaking out personally have an option: pooling their money with others who share their views to fund organizations that can make their voices heard in the public debate.  Our long history in… View Article
By Benita M. Dodd BENITA DODD The lineup is complete for the Sixth Annual Georgia Legislative Policy Forum on Thursday, October 15, with a theme and speakers that live up to its description as “the opening shot” to the Georgia legislative session. Hundreds of attendees, from interested citizens to legislators and their staff, attend the daylong forum each year. Why? Because organizers invite outstanding state and national experts to outline limited-government policy proposals that can be applied in Georgia. This year, the goal is to advance opportunities in health care, education and work across the state. To that end, three sessions and two breakout sessions reflect the event theme, “Wisdom, Justice and Opportunity,” a take on the state motto of… View Article

The Rule of Law and Its Equitable Application

By Brad Raffensperger Brad Raffensperger America is at a crossroads. In fact, it is at the midpoint of the teeter-totter. Perhaps it has been at this point before – perhaps it has been here for a while – but since 2008 it has become glaringly evident that two oppositional forces are vying for the hearts, minds, emotions and votes of the American public. Look no further than recent Supreme Court rulings on major matters of import to the American public, recent revelations about barbaric practices at Planned Parenthood, and recent violence of a heinous nature against peaceful citizens. On one hand is the Rule of Law and on the other side is the Rule of Man. On the face of… View Article
<img height=”1″ width=”1″ alt=”” style=”display:none” src=”;cd[value]=0.00&amp;cd[currency]=USD&amp;noscript=1″ />By Michael LaFaive and Kelly McCutchen Did you know that just three public school districts in the state of Georgia contract out transportation services? More than a third of all conventional pubic school districts in Georgia contract out one of the three major non-instructional services, according to survey data collected this summer by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a Michigan-based research institute. The Mackinac Center survey of Georgia and four other states found that 38 percent of Georgia districts contract out for at least one of the “big three” non-instructional services: food, transportation and custodial services. Done right, contracting out can save money and relieve management headaches, too. But Mackinac found a… View Article
By Jon Sanders The rhetorical case for renewable energy seems, at its core, to be this: Why rely on traditional sources that burn expensive energy and emit carbon dioxide when you can replace them with energy freely provided by nature that emits nothing? Seems like a slam-dunk. If that were truly the choice, no doubt it would be. But unfortunately, it isn’t. Not even close. Industry advocates know that, which is why they work in concert with friendly politicians and media true believers to make the choice seem that way. Nature, economics, and simple math are their biggest obstacles. Not politics, not irrational hatred of renewable energy, not even donations from bugbear philanthropists. The renewable energy sources (wind and solar) … View Article

What Happened to The ‘Public’ in Public Schools?

By Benita M. Dodd Ashley-Kay Wyatt was a freshman at Brantley County High School in southeastern Georgia when boys happened. Unimpressed by her handling of the transition into the high school, her parents pulled her from Brantley High after one semester. She enrolled in Georgia Cyber Academy, one of the statewide, online, “virtual” public charter schools. Today the 15-year-old 10th-grader, adopted by the Wyatts at age 9, is an honor student. Her counselor at Georgia Cyber Academy says she is “an extraordinary student and has proven to have the maturity needed to be successful with online learning.” Ashley-Kay Wyatt (above) is an “extraordinary student and has proven to have the maturity needed to be successful with online learning,” according to… View Article

Snake Oil in the Clean Power Plan

By Benita M. Dodd BENITA DODD “The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help,” Ronald Reagan famously said. After new energy regulations were announced this week, Americans should ask government, “With friends like you, who needs enemies?” This nation has never been sold a bigger, costlier bill of goods than the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan (climate action plan) to reduce carbon emissions, which the administration has fervently tried to relabel as carbon “pollution.” According to President Obama: With this Clean Power Plan, by 2030, carbon pollution from our power plants will be 32 percent lower than it was a decade ago.  And the nerdier way to say that… View Article
By Harold Brown Harold Brown, Senior Fellow, Georgia Public Policy Foundation Charity is from the noblest of impulses. But it must come from the heart; governments can’t do it. Most democratic governments have representatives who feel it, but charity can’t be built on taxes. Charity is not giving away someone else’s goods. The two main problems with the government urge to care for the needs of its citizens are making it fair and knowing when to quit. It is bad enough to pay taxes to the federal government to fix roads, airports, foreign dictators and commerce. The ever-increasing use of tax dollars to give as cash or benefits to individuals is enough to push us over the psychological (and fiscal)… View Article

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