Friday Facts: June 14, 2019

It’s Friday!

Quotes of note

“We are living in a time of increasing domestic tension. Some of it stems from the presidency of Donald Trump. Another part of it is various advocacy groups on both sides of the political spectrum demanding one cause or another. But nearly totally ignored is how growing government control over our lives, along with the betrayal of constitutional principles, contributes the most to domestic tension.” – Walter Williams

“What America needs is less talk of national unity — from the left or the right — and more freedom to let people live the way they want to live, not just as individuals, but as members of local communities. We don’t need to move past liberalism, we need to return to it.” – Jonah Goldberg

“According to the U.S. Census … an estimated 24.7 million children (33%) live absent their biological father. Dads make THE difference! I wish all dads understood their worth to the children.” – Willie Richardson

Events

Mark your calendar! The 2019 Georgia Legislative Policy Forum takes place Friday, November 15, at the Renaissance Waverly Atlanta. The theme, a play on Georgia’s motto of “Wisdom, Justice, Moderation,” is “Wisdom, Justice, Mobility.” Details to follow; click here to view video coverage of previous events.

Education

Extra time: An analysis by The Wall Street Journal finds that the number of high school students being given special allowances for test-taking, such as extra time, has surged in recent years, especially in affluent areas. It was no surprise to EducationNext: Miriam Kurtzig Freedman predicted back in 2003 that these numbers would grow after the College Board ended its practice of flagging (with an asterisk) the SAT scores of test takers who had been allowed extra time. Source: EducationNext.org

Free college, a lesson: Louisiana’s near-universal free college programstarted with the best of intentions – to help low-income students attend college – but has become uncontrollable in size and cost, according to the James G. Martin Center for Higher Education. The Taylor Opportunity Program for Students (TOPS) is based on a promise that oilman Patrick F. Taylor made in 1988 to a class of eighth-graders: If they held a “B” average throughout high school, he would pay their college tuition. The state took over TOPS, removed the income cap and lowered the academic requirement. Today, TOPS disproportionately benefits the middle class and the wealthy.

Transportation

Ridership: Transit ridership in April 2019 was 2% greater than in April 2018, according to the latest national ridership update from the Federal Transit Administration. That gain was almost entirely from a 6.6% increase in New York subway ridership, recovering from maintenance and repair work done in April 2018. Atlanta’s 5% ridership decline was partly due to a 1.7% service decline, according to The Antiplanner blog.

Government

Sinking feeling: Seventeen percent of voters nationwide now trust the federal government to do the right thing most or all of the time, according to Scott Rasmussen’s latest survey, which notes, “It has been nearly 50 years since a majority of all voters trusted the federal government most of the time.” Source: Ballotpedia

Congratulations, Part 1: Two familiar faces in Georgia politics are joining the State Charter Schools Commission: former state Sen. Hunter Hill and former state Rep. Buzz Brockway. Their appointment to the commission follows recent budget increases for state charter schools, which have caused 21 new schools to apply for charter in the past month alone. Source: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Congratulations, Part 2: Gov. Brian Kemp appointed Doraville Police Chief and Brigadier General John King as Georgia’s interim commissioner of insurance and fire safety. King will serve in place of Jim Beck, who was elected last year but is suspended due to a federal indictment. A native of Mexico, King is the state’s first Hispanic constitutional officer. Source: Georgia.gov

Media

Social media? Our Facebook page has 3,505 “likes.” Our Twitter account has 1,900 followers. Click on the links and join Foundation followers in staying abreast of policy news and views! 

YouTube: Did you miss the Policy Briefing Luncheon with David French of National Review Institute? View his speech here on the Foundation’s YouTube channel, along with other events.

Foundation in the media: The Moultrie Observer published Benita Dodd’s commentary, “An Education on Public Charter Schools in Georgia.” WABE-FM interviewed Kyle Wingfield on work requirements for Medicaid recipients.

Friday Flashback

This month in the archives: In June 10 years ago, the Foundation published, “Open Up Government Transparency to Technological Advances.” It noted, “Government transparency means much more than just dumping files on a Web site for users to muddle through. … In the long run, a better-informed public will lead to more substantive political campaigns, better public policy and increased philanthropy and volunteerism.  It’s easier and more affordable than ever so there is no reason not to make it happen.” Sadly, agencies appear to be complicating accessibility.

Visit www.georgiapolicy.org to read the Foundation’s latest commentary, Georgia Puts the ‘Commission’ in Tax Commissioners’ Pockets,” by Dave Emanuel.
Have a great weekend and a Happy Father’s Day!

Kyle Wingfield and Benita Dodd

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