Category: The Forum

Bill Clinton Tells Charter Educators: Put America Back in the Future Business

Former President Bill Clinton challenged charter school educators to “put our country back in the future business” during his keynote address Tuesday morning that opened the 2011 National Charter Schools Conference in Atlanta. “People look to you to keep America changing for the better,” Clinton said toward the end of his nearly 45-minute address. “Too many people have given up on us and it looks like a food fight half the time in Washington and across the country because we’ve forgotten that evidence, experience and the aspirations of everyday people tells us what works. “This is not about ideology.  It’s not about theology.  It’s about what we can do to give our kids a better tomorrow by putting our country… View Article

Clinton at Charters Conference; Deal Meets With Gates Foundation

Good morning from the 2011 National Charter Schools Conference at the World Congress Center in Atlanta.  Former President Bill Clinton will deliver the morning keynote address to some 4,000 conference attendees.  The 42nd President pushed charter schools development during his eight-year administration, increasing them from virtually none to more than 2,000. Meanwhile, the Georgia Public Policy Foundation has learned Governor Nathan Deal, state schools Superintendent John Barge, legislators and several influential business leaders will meet with a representative from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation today to discuss Georgia education reform and potentially, financial assistance for the former state commission charter schools. Topic Number One in Georgia is the fallout from last month’s state Supreme Court decision that overturned the… View Article

Bill Clinton To Address Charter Schools Conference Tuesday in Atlanta

Former President Bill Clinton will headline Tuesday’s opening session of the 2011 National Charter Schools Conference in Georgia where the state has become a national battleground over alternative authorization of public charter schools.  The 42nd President will receive the inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award and deliver an acceptance speech to 4,000 attendees. It is entirely coincidental that the year’s biggest annual national charter schools conference is being hosted in Atlanta about one mile from the state Supreme Court.  Last month a one-vote majority of the state high Court’s seven justices declared that the state Charter Schools Commission is unconstitutional, ending a three-year experiment with alternative authorization. Implications from the Georgia Supreme Court decision and the path forward will be discussed Tuesday… View Article

Georgia Will Test Telephone Self-Reporting for Low-Risk Adult Parolees

Georgia will test a new model that could result in more effective supervision of high-risk parolees because less time would be required for low-risk parolees.  In July the state will begin a three-month telephone reporting pilot project and the initiative could be expanded statewide. “The parolee population is increasing,” said Jay Lacienski, director of field operations at the state Board of Pardons and Parole.  “When you have an ever increasing (parolee) population and a stable parole officer population, you better figure out how to handle that.” Georgia’s pilot project will move 1,300 low-risk parolees into a voice recognition system developed by a Georgia-based outside contractor.  Face-to-face visits with a parole officer will be replaced by telephone reporting.  About one-third… View Article

Georgia Probationers Could be Picking and Packing Down on the Farm

Georgia is ready to put unemployed probationers to work picking and packing crops. This week Governor Nathan Deal announced state agriculture, corrections and labor officials will combine efforts to identify unemployed probationers who can work on farms that are trying to harvest crops quickly, especially in South Georgia where blistering 100-degree heat accelerated the growing cycle. Agriculture commissioner Gary Black told The Foundation that preliminary coordination began last week and small numbers of probationers “could be on the farm as early as this week.  This is a free market suggestion,” Black said.  “It won’t work for everybody and not every producer would want it, but what if it does work for some?  We owe it to the producers and the… View Article

Supreme Court Will Not Reconsider State Commission Schools Decision

The Georgia Supreme Court has served the future of former state commission charter schools back over the net and back into the Legislature’s court.  This morning the Court announced that it will not review last month’s decision that overturned the three-year-old commission. “The majority of the Georgia Supreme Court has just found 16,000 innocent children in Georgia guilty of choosing a better education,” said Georgia Charter Schools Association chief executive officer Tony Roberts.  “And even worse, the justices have sentenced them to failing or inadequate schools.” This morning's announcement comes exactly one week before Atlanta hosts the four-day-long National Charter Schools annual conference.  Former President Bill Clinton will keynote the Tuesday session and U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan is… View Article

Do Public Sector Pensions Teeter on the Edge of Financial Collapse?

What do you know about your pension plan?  Is it defined benefit, defined contribution or some hybrid version?  Does your employer match your contribution?  Is it portable, meaning you take it along when you change jobs?  Who makes the investment choices?  How much do you have in bonds, equities and cash?  What about the municipal bond market downturn; did that cause a volcano inside your pension plan?  Do you even understand how to read the statement? Most people are not financial wizards but today almost everyone is more personally responsible than earlier generations for knowing something about retirement and pension plans because the good old days of guaranteed lifetime income have come and gone in nearly all professions. “At the… View Article

Friday Facts: June 10th, 2011

It’s Friday! Rule of law – “The law passed on partisan lines by Congress last year blatantly violates the U.S. Constitution by mandating Americans to enter the marketplace and purchase products. This direct assault on individual liberty exceeds Congress’s enumerated powers.” – Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens, on the Obamacare lawsuit argued in federal court this week in Atlanta – Penumbras and emanations: “The Majority repeatedly states that the 1983 Constitution grants ‘exclusive authority’ to local districts over public education. There is no such grant, whatsoever, in the Constitution.” –  McKenna Long & Aldridge brief seeking reconsideration of the recent Georgia Supreme Court ruling that the Georgia Charter Schools Commission is unconstitutional Education – Take less than… View Article

Georgia Ranks 41st Nationally in Gross Domestic Product Annual Growth

Georgia likes to describe itself as an economic growth engine. Real gross domestic product growth data released this week by the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis confirmed progress but there is a long road ahead before anyone can declare recession recovery has happened. The state turned 4.9 percent negative results two years ago into 1.4 percent positive growth last year. That upside trend was among the best nationally but overall, Georgia still performed well below the national average and below nine of its geographic neighbors in the 12-state Southeast region. The Bureau compared 2009 and 2010 real gross domestic product growth. The Bureau, which is an office within the U.S. Department of Commerce, said 2010 real GDP growth calendar year… View Article

One Step Forward and A Long Road Ahead for Commission Schools

Get ready. Get set. Go back to (your favorite charter) school. Now that they’ve been thrown a parachute, what’s next for a handful of former state commission charter schools and nearly 16,000 students? The search for that answer leads to other questions: Do you mean sooner or later? And, would Georgia voters be inclined to embrace the idea charter schools might help the state overcome its mediocre education reputation? “I’ve been called a lot of things in life. This is the first time I’ve been called unconstitutional,” Mark Peevy said during his testimony at Friday morning’s Senate education sub-committee hearing. Peevy is executive director of the Georgia Charter Schools Commission, which the state Supreme Court threw out in a decision… View Article

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