In the early days of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, even public charter school choice was needlessly limited in Georgia, as this 1996 article demonstrates. The Foundation enthusiastically embraced a role as school choice champion. In 2021, as the Foundation celebrates its 30th anniversary, Georgians, too, can celebrate the hard-won public education options available for students: startup charter schools, state-commissioned charter schools and online charter schools. Legislators have also approved tuition tax credit scholarships and special-needs scholarships. And the Foundation continues its campaign to expand and enhance education options for all Georgia’s children.
Quotes of note
“Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.” – P. J. O’Rourke
“For liberty hath a sharp and double edge, fit only to be handled by just and virtuous men; to bad and dissolute, it becomes a mischief unwieldy in their own hands.” – John Milton
“Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no child-like faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished. Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies!” –Francis Pharcellus Church, “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus“
On Our Desks
Forum from home: Did you miss the sessions at the 2021 Georgia Legislative Policy Forum? Find them on the Foundation’s YouTube channel!
From the heart: Kyle Wingfield is recuperating from surgery last week and will be taking a short hiatus through the end of the year. He explained in his recent column.
30 for 30: In celebration of Georgia Policy’s 30 years of advancing freedom in our state we’re asking our friends to give $30 today. Will you contribute?
Mayor-Elect Dickens: After a runoff election, Atlanta native Andre Dickens will be the city’s 61st mayor. Dickens will succeed Mayor Keisha Bottoms, who chose not to run for a second term. Fulton County Chairman Robb Pitts expressed disappointment with the turnout; fewer than 79,000 voted in the mayoral runoff. Source: News reports
If at first you don’t succeed: Democrat leader Stacey Abrams announced her candidacy for Georgia governor this week, setting the stage for a potential rematch against Governor Kemp.
Bah, humbug! Thanks to inflation, the “12 days of Christmas” Christmas Price Index is up 5.7% in 2021 compared to its pre-pandemic level in 2019. This is the largest increase in eight years; in 2013 the annual cost grew by 6.6%. Exotic pets, performers and gold rings experienced the largest price jumps this year, according to the tongue-in-cheek survey begun 38 years ago by PNC.
I’ll be home for Christmas… Christmas travel is up 42% from last year, according to HospitalityNet. About 33 million Americans will travel by plane – 6 million people more than the number that said they will travel by plane for Thanksgiving.
Add to Cart? CyberMonday sales dropped 1.4% compared to a year ago, totalling $109.8 billion. Adobe expects digital sales to hit $207 billion between November 1 and December 31.
You can run: Now debt collectors can privately message people on social media services such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram in an attempt to collect a debt. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s new Debt Collection Rule that took effect November 30 is part of the overarching Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which governs the way debt collectors interact with people from whom they are trying to collect a debt. Source: CNET.com
Dollar bills: Georgia’s 10 biggest public companies – Home Depot, UPS, Coca-Cola, Aflac, Southern Company, WestRock, Genuine Parts, Delta Air Lines, PulteGroup and Mohawk Industries – have generated higher revenues so far this year than in the same period last year, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. Better yet, all but Delta logged revenue at least as good or better than the comparable period in 2019.
Championing choice: Calling American public education “tragically broken,” former New York mayor and presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg has announced a $750 million, five-year initiative to add 150,000 seats at “high-quality” public charter schools in 20 U.S. metro areas. The Bloomberg Philanthropies initiative will invest in schools whose student populations have been impacted by the pandemic and where, “on average, more than 80% of students receive free and reduced price lunch, and more than 90% are children of color.”
Please hold: Some hospitals, nursing homes and other healthcare providers are preparing to operate without up to a third of their staff at the start of next year, if those workers don’t comply with a federal mandate to get vaccinated against COVID-19. The Biden administration has mandated that facilities which receive funding from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services require their workers to be vaccinated by January 4. Source: Wall Street Journal
Omicron has landed: U.S. health officials on Wednesday reported the country’s first detected case of the COVID-19 Omicron variant, found in a patient in California who had returned from South Africa on November 22. The individual, who was fully vaccinated and had mild symptoms that are improving, has been isolating since testing positive on November 29. Source: Stat News
Getting closer: A panel of U.S. health advisers on Tuesday narrowly backed the benefits of a closely watched COVID-19 pill from Merck, setting the stage for a likely authorization of the first drug that Americans could take at home to treat the virus. Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution
This month in the archives: In December 20 years ago, the Foundation published “From Entitlement to Empowerment: Welfare Reform in Georgia, Part I.” It noted, “Georgians are a caring and compassionate people who are willing to assist welfare recipients build and maintain strong families and communities. But they also expect welfare recipients to work in exchange for benefits, be held accountable for their own actions and those of their children, and strive their utmost to help themselves.”
Visit georgiapolicy.org to read the Foundation’s latest commentary, “Government’s Best Industrial Policy: Remove Barriers,” by the Mercatus Center’s Adam Thierer.
Have a great weekend.
Kyle Wingfield and Benita Dodd
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