Friday Facts: January 27th, 2012

It’s Friday!


Quotes of note
– “If we simply throw low-risk offenders into prison, rather than holding them accountable for their wrongdoing and addressing the source of their criminal behavior, they merely become hardened criminals who are more likely to re-offend when they are released.” – Georgia Chief Justice Carol Hunstein
– “If Congress imposed a 100 percent tax, taking all earnings above $250,000 per year (the top 2 percent of income earners), it would yield the princely sum of $1.4 trillion. That would keep the government running for 141 days”  Walter Williams
– 
“Be not intimidated, therefore, by any terrors, from publishing with the utmost freedom, whatever can be warranted by the laws of your country; nor suffer yourselves to be wheedled out of your liberty by any pretences of politeness, delicacy, or decency. These, as they are often used, are but three different names for hypocrisy, chicanery, and cowardice.” – John Adams

Events

– Mark your calendar: The next Leadership Breakfast is scheduled for 8 a.m. February 22 at the Georgian Club. Keynoted by Rod S. Martin, a founder of PayPal and education philanthropist, the event topic is, “Education, Entrepreneurship, and How Technology is Transforming the World by Transforming Both.” For information and to register, go to http://tinyurl.com/6m6qnu3.

 

Transportation
– Private paratransit: New York state’s Westchester County ParaTransit service is offering some of its passengers the option of choosing a discounted taxi ride instead of sharing a van, according to a report in Metro Magazine. The “Bee-Line Taxi,” a one-year pilot program involving three private cab companies, is expected to save the county $300,000.
– Trust but verify: Outsourcing service to the private sector never negates the need for government oversight. A Staten Island, N.Y.-based car service company admitted to stealing $30,000 from the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Access-A-Ride program with a fraudulent billing scheme. Wadsworth Car Service made false ride claims on vouchers, in some cases getting riders to sign several vouchers at one time. The MTA’s NYC Transit division, which runs Access-A-Ride, noticed that the company’s billings doubled from about $50,000 to $100,000 in one month, triggering the investigation, according to a report in the New York Daily News. Source: Metro-magazine.com

Education
– Kudos: Tech High, the math-, science-and technology-oriented charter high school the Foundation helped establish in the Atlanta Public Schools system, is listed as a 2011 Single Statewide Accountability System (SSAS) Award Winning School. This acknowledges the school’s greatest gain for students meeting and exceeding standards. See the list of schools at http://archives.gadoe.org/_documents/gaosa/Greatest%20Gains%20FINAL.pdf .
– Teacher quality: The National Council on Teacher Quality released its 2011 State Teacher Policy Yearbook this week. Seven states – Florida, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio – earned the highest grades ever handed out by the council for policies that shape the teaching profession, including evaluation, accountability and teacher improvement. States topping the list for the most progress on teacher policy include Indiana, Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois and Rhode Island. The national average was a D plus. Georgia earned an overall C in the report, with a B minus for its policies on expanding the pool of teachers but a D plus in exiting ineffective teachers. Read the report at http://www.nctq.org/stpy11Home.do.

Pension reform
– Georgia is the only state in the nation that bars its pension funds from investing in private equity. Writing in The Wall Street Journal, Michael Corkery quotes Bill Kelly, a lawyer at Nixon Peabody who has worked with pensions and private-equity firms for 30 years, as saying that today, pension-fund managers “would say you may be breaching your fiduciary duty if you avoid this asset class.” 

Opportunities
– Seminar: The Foundation for Economic Education has begun accepting applications for Spring Break with FEE, designed to introduce Atlanta-area high school students to basic free-enterprise principles. (Others accepted on a space-available basis.) Apply to attend the four-day seminar (April 2-5, 2012) here: http://www.fee.org/events/spring-break-with-fee. The application deadline is March 15th.
– Internships: The Foundation for Economic Education offers annual summer seminar series that challenges students from around the world to reflect on the ideas of freedom that lie at the heart of our prosperity. FEE has openings during the seminars for internships in operations, photography and videography for hard-working and entrepreneurial college students with a quality academic record. Apply by March 15 at www.fee.org/about/internships.

Social media
– This Week in The Forum: The annual Tax Foundation report that ranks states for their business tax climate was released this week, and Foundation Editor Mike Klein reports that Georgia Can Do Better. Georgia also has one of three nominees for National Online Teacher of the Year. In Transportation Briefs, the Foundation’s Benita Dodd shares notes on planes, trains, automobiles and HOT lanes. Find out in Checking Up On Health about the calendar that has been announced for U.S. Supreme Court hearings on the 2010 federal health care reform law. Read this news and more in The Forum, the Foundation’s blog, at http://forum.georgiapolicy.org/
– Facebook: After a successful Leadership Breakfast discussion on education reform in Georgia on Wednesday, the Foundation joined about 1,500 supporters of school choice rallying on the steps of the Georgia State Capitol to celebrate National School Choice Week. Photos of the breakfast event and the rally are posted on the Foundation’s Facebook site at http://www.facebook.com/GeorgiaPolicy. (While you’re there, join the more than 1,500 supporters from the United States and 18 other countries that “Like” the Georgia Public Policy Foundation!)
– Twitter: More than 500 people and groups follow the Foundation on Twitter. Join them at http://www.twitter.com/gppf.

 

Visit www.georgiapolicy.org to read the Foundation’s latest commentary, “Breaking Down Barriers to High Quality Education in Georgia,” by Dean Alford.

 

Have a great weekend.

Kelly McCutchen

FRIDAY FACTS is made possible by the generosity of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s donors. If you enjoy the FRIDAY FACTS, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to help advance our important mission by clicking here. Visit our Web site at www.georgiapolicy.org/. Join The Forum at http://forum.georgiapolicy.org/. Become a fan of the Foundation onFacebook and follow us on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/gppf.

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