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Four Drivers of Tomorrow’s Education Reforms

In “Time for a Reboot,” Checker Finn highlights four drivers of tomorrow’s education reforms.

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2014 Forum VIDEO: Tearing Down Doctor – Patient Walls

The U.S. health care system confounds and confuses nearly everyone.  Ever-changing federal government mandates, an alarming number of people who have no health insurance from any source, the trend by employers to reduce or even eliminate health care coverage for employees and retirees, all of this and more has created hyper-ventilation in health care which is about one-sixth of the entire U.S. economy.

“Tearing Down the Walls Between Doctors and Patients” brought three medical practitioners together at the 2014 Georgia Legislative Policy Forum.  Dr. Josh Umbehr is a Wichita, Kansas physician whose Atlas MD provides direct primary care at a fixed price.  Dr. Brian Hill is with Urology Specialists of Atlanta at St. Joseph Hospital.  Jimmy Childre, Jr. is former chairman and current CEO at the Washington County Regional Medical Center Authority in central Georgia.

(Article and video production by Mike Klein)

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2014 Forum VIDEO: Fall of the Berlin Wall 25th Anniversary
Gen. LUCIUS D. CLAY

Gen. LUCIUS D. CLAY

Gen. Lucius D. Clay and Joseph Rueffert never met but they share something in common, post-World War II Berlin, Germany. Gen. Clay engineered the unprecedented 1948-49 Berlin Airlift that saved West Berliners from Soviet-planned starvation.  Rueffert was an East German guard who escaped to the West during the 1961 Soviet construction of the Berlin Wall.

Gen. Clay’s grandson Chuck Clay and Joseph Rueffert’s son Hans Rueffert shared the stage at the 2014 Legislative Policy Forum discussion, “Fall of the Berlin Wall: The 25th Anniversary.”  They were introduced by Tom Harrold.

This video begins with a segment from the 2003 Unification Conference that brought former U.S. President George H.W. Bush, former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl to Atlanta for a discussion moderated by Tom Brokaw.  Harrold organized the Unification Conference.

Several images from 1948 – 49 and 1961 were shown on screen during the Forum presentations by Chuck Clay and Hans Rueffert.  Here are the links:

http://www.georgiapolicy.org/ftp_files/GeneralClay.pptx

(Article and video production by Mike Klein)
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2014 Forum VIDEO: Tearing Down Walls to Economic Growth
LIZ MALM

LIZ MALM

Georgia’s personal state income tax rate at 6 percent is now the highest in the Southeastern United States.  Is that a competitive disadvantage when Florida and Tennessee collect no personal income taxes and every other state that surrounds Georgia is also lower?

What are the proper roles for personal, corporate and sales taxes in a state economy?  How to keep Georgia’s economy competitive in the taxes environment was a focus at the fifth annual Georgia Legislative Policy Forum.

Tax Foundation economist Liz Malm said sales of goods are decreasing as a percentage of Georgia’s overall economy and sales of services are increasing.  Georgia, however, has not adjusted its taxation strategies to acknowledge this change in the state’s economy.  Malm’s recommendations included a broader overall tax base with lower rates and, specifically, taxing all end consumer services, taxing groceries with built-in protection for low-income earners and exemptions for business-to-business services.

The conference also heard from former North Carolina state Senator Thom Goolsby who championed the state’s personal income tax rate cut.  The Legislative Policy Forum is a partnership project of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation and the Conservative Policy Leadership Institute.  The Forum was held on Friday, September 19, in Atlanta.

(Article and video production by Mike Klein)

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2014 Forum VIDEO: Tearing Down Walls to School Choice
SAJAN GEORGE

SAJAN GEORGE

Alpharetta resident Sajan George founded Matchbook Learning which operates innovative blended learning schools in Detroit and Matchbook is being recruited to open schools in other states.  But Georgia is not on Matchbook’s radar and he explained why during the 2014 Georgia Legislative Policy Forum education panel discussion.

“At the risk of offending every single person in the room I’ll just be totally blunt. There’s no vision here for education, there isn’t, statewide,: said George. “If you ask my counterparts, the founders and CEOs of other blended and entrepreneurial education systems, Atlanta and Georgia in general is not even on their radar, not even close to their radar.

“At least three ingredients that have to be in place for entrepreneurial blended models to come. You need a way to rank your schools. The second thing you need is a pathway to scale. Third, there needs to be some sort of harbor master, someone that’s between the state or the county and the education entrepreneurial sector that brings together those elements, that sort of runway to land,” said George.

“If we have to rely on whoever the state superintendent (is), district superintendent (is), governor, there’s an election cycle. We don’t know if the person who is making these promises in less than four years is still going to be there. We plan to be here long-term so you need a third party intermediary. Other cities and state have that.”

George joined former Virginia and Florida top public schools official Gerard Robinson in a 75-minute discussion moderated by Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist Kyle Wingfield.  The Legislative Policy Forum is a partnership project between the Georgia Public Policy Foundation and the Conservative Leadership Policy Institute.

(Article and video production by Mike Klein)

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2014 Forum VIDEO: Leadership Address by Herman Cain
HERMAN CAIN

HERMAN CAIN

Herman Cain’s father worked as a janitor, barber and chauffeur.  His son would become a candidate for the United States Senate and later President of the United States after a stunningly successful business career.  Today he is best known as a nationally syndicated conservative radio talk show host, author, frequent contributor on several broadcast networks and constant activist for conservative policy issues.

Cain spoke about “Leadership is Common Sense” after he received the Conservative Policy Leadership Institute’s Principles Award for his lifetime devotion to conservative philosophies at the fifth annual Georgia Legislative Policy Forum.

Cain is a 1967 Morehouse College graduate. He earned a masters’ degree in computer science from Purdue University while working for the U.S. Department of the Navy.  He rose through corporate ranks at Coca-Cola and the Pillsbury Co. before being named President and CEO at Godfather’s Pizza which he took from teetering on bankruptcy to profitability within 14 months.  Then his management team bought the company. Later he was named president of the National Restaurant Association.

Cain’s political emergence is sometimes traced to a 1994 television appearance in which he challenged President Bill Clinton about the impact of the administration’s proposed health care reforms on small businesses.  Cain’s media career launched in a big way when he moved from a weekend small station show to WSB, the Atlanta-based radio Goliath in 2004 after his 2004 unsuccessful bid for the U.S. Senate.  Cain was a 2012 Republican candidate for President of the United States.  He was named to replace Neal Boortz in WSB’s morning slot when Boortz retired from full-time radio.

CPLI Chairman Hunter Hill and President Melanie Stockwell presented Cain with the Principles Award at the Legislative Policy Forum on Friday, September 19, in Atlanta.  The Forum is a partnership project of CPLI and the Georgia Public Policy Foundation.

Award Presentation:

“Leadership is Common Sense” Keynote Address:

Audience Questions Segment:

(Article and video production by Mike Klein)

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2014 Forum VIDEO: Education Keynote Address by Clint Bolick
CLINT BOLICK

CLINT BOLICK

A New York Times article praised Clint Bolick for his “aggressive litigation to defend individual liberties.”  Legal Times magazine recognized him as one of the 90 greatest Washington, D.C. lawyers of the previous 30 years.

His resume includes co-founder of the Institute for Justice and president of the Alliance for School Choice before he joined the Goldwater Institute seven years ago.  At Goldwater he presides over litigation and one of his favorite phrases is, “I get paid to sue government bureaucrats.”

The fifth annual Georgia Legislative Policy Forum audience warmly welcomed Bolick when he delivered the Education Keynote Address on Friday, September 19 in Atlanta.

Bolick focused on school choice with a particular emphasis on education savings accounts that are available to Arizona families but not here in Georgia.  Bolick successfully defended school choice programs in a 2003 U.S. Supreme Court case.  The first video is his presentation and the second video is the audience questions segment.

Audience Questions Segment:

Learn more about Arizona Education Savings Accounts:  Link

(Article and video production by Mike Klein)

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Reason Foundation dispels express toll lane myths

Shutting down myths about express toll lane projects before they shut down Georgia’s progress.

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Astonishing Early Results from GA Juvenile Justice Reform
MIKE KLEIN Editor, Georgia Public Policy Foundation

MIKE KLEIN
Editor, Georgia Public Policy Foundation

By Mike Klein

Buoyed by freshly funded incarceration alternatives, Georgia reduced new juvenile justice detention commitments by an astonishing 62 percent during the nine month period that ended in June. As a result, the average daily secure population rate is also trending down as is the length of time juveniles are waiting for a detention center placement.

“While it’s still early, we feel great about where we are,” Department of Juvenile Justice assistant deputy commissioner Joe Vignati told the Georgia Council on Criminal Justice Reform on Tuesday morning. This was the Council’s first meeting since May although several committees met during the summer.

DJJ Deputy Commissioner Carl Brown led off with an historical overview of Georgia juvenile justice that recalled a $300 million annual budget in 2012, nearly two thirds of that amount spent on secure detention at $90,000 per bed per year. Brown said traditionally 25 percent of youths were incarcerated for low level offenses, misdemeanors and status offenses. Forty percent were assessed as being low risk to re-offend.

Juvenile justice was the 2012 Criminal Justice Reform Council’s principal focus and it resulted in a new way of thinking about kids. Juveniles who commit the most serious crimes and who pose a threat to public safety should be incarcerated and dealt with appropriately, but there would be new community-based program options for kids who primarily are just dysfunctional, sometimes severely so, but without criminal intentions.

House Bill 242 created a framework for alternative programs. Governor Nathan Deal’s FY 2014-15 budgets provided more than $13 million to help create community-based services. The first measurement is the nine-month period that began in October 2013 and ended in June. “Here’s the big bang, what have we achieved?” said DJJ assistant deputy commissioner Joe Vignati.

During the 2012 calendar year juvenile court judges sentenced 2,603 youths to incarceration. That became the base year with an objective goal to reduce the number by 15 percent or 390 fewer juveniles sentenced to incarceration between October 2013 and June 2014. Instead of 15 percent it was 62 percent and instead of 390 fewer sentences it was 1,614 fewer sentences.

Youths incarcerated at secure facilities declined 14 percent from 1,673 in October 2013 to 1,440 in June 2014. The number of youths awaiting a detention bed placement was down from 269 at the beginning of October 2013 to 157 at the end of June 2014, and it continues to improve.

“As of yesterday it’s my understanding that we have only 39 youth awaiting placement,” Vignati told the Council. “This is important because we make sure we are getting kids where they need to be. Also, now we are able to operate safe, secure facilities. We don’t have overcrowding.”

To learn more, watch these YouTube Channel videos recorded at the meeting:

Juvenile Justice Presentation, Part One

Juvenile Justice Presentation, Part Two

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Utopian Academy Determined to Succeed in Clayton County

Utopian Academy for the Arts opened in Clayton County despite bureaucratic roadblocks that threatened its unique mission. By Foundation Editor Mike Klein.

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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. " - Dan Amos, CEO, AFLAC