Friday Facts: February 3rd, 2012

It’s Friday!


 This Monday, February 6 at 3:00 p.m. we will be co-hosting the former leader of Greenpeace and CASEnergy Co-Chair, Dr. Patrick Moore, live at our new headquarters as he presents “An Update on the Nuclear Renaissance,” a talk broadcast live on the Internet about the future of nuclear energy in the United States. Look in the calendar section of our Web site Monday for instructions on how to watch the broadcast.

 February 22: Rod S. Martin, a founder of PayPal and education philanthropist, keynotes the Foundation’s Leadership Breakfast at 8 a.m. Wednesday, February 22, at the Georgian Club. The topic is, “Education, Entrepreneurship, and How Technology is Transforming the World by Transforming Both.” The cost is $25 to attend this event. Register by Monday, February 20. For more information and to register, go to of note
– “When your response to everything that is wrong with the world is to say, ‘there ought to be a law,’ you are saying that you hold freedom very cheap.” –  Thomas Sowell
– “More money is put into prisons than into schools. That, in itself, is the description of a nation bent on suicide. I mean, what is more precious to us than our own children? We are going to build a lot more prisons if we do not deal with the schools and their inequalities.” – Jonathan Kozol
“Some regard private enterprise as if it were a predatory tiger to be shot. Others look upon it as a cow that they can milk. Only a handful see it for what it really is – the strong horse that pulls the whole cart.” – Winston Churchill

Foundation TV: Watch our coverage of the Georgia School Choice Rally, highlights of our asset forfeiture press conference and presentations by Lisa Kelly on the GOAL Scholarship program and Lisa Gillis on digital learning.


Tax and Spending

– Governor Nikki Haley has rolled out a plan to phase out South Carolina’s corporate tax over the next four years, as well as cut the top income tax bracket from 7 percent to 3.5 percent.

– Did you know Georgia ranks 34th in total state and local spending and 8th in K-12 spending as a percentage of personal income? Read more in our “Fiscal Overview.”



– From Dean Alford’s remarks at our breakfast last week: Of 100 Georgia ninth graders entering ninth grade, only 54 will graduate from high school and only 9 will graduate from a two- or four-year college. Remedial education in our higher education system in Georgia costs taxpayers $254 million. Georgia has over 70 high schools where over 50 percent of the ninth graders did not come back for 10th grade. For more, read Dean’s commentary at or watch the video of the breakfast here:

– Blended learning opening doors: The merging of traditional classroom and online learning has opened the door to a global exchange of ideas, enhancing education.  Virtual High School (VHS), which works with nearly 700 schools in 43 countries, is one “educational matchmaker” that allows brick-and-mortar schools to garner qualified instructors from anywhere in the world, Education Week reports. For example, an Advanced Placement teacher in the 140-student Petersburg High School on an Alaskan island facilitates weekly AP classes for students in schools in some Northeastern states as well as Oklahoma and Washington state, and even in China, Switzerland and Venezuela. In exchange for her AP lessons, VHS offered the school 25 student spots at a reduced price. And at Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School in Massachusetts, students learning Brazilian history recently attended a session with a teacher from Sao Paulo. Read more here:

– Meanwhile, in Georgia … While doors are opening elsewhere, the Georgia Supreme Court’s broad ruling last year that shut down a statewide charter school commission declared unconstitutional has practically shut the door to innovation such as virtual schools in public education in this state. Read more here:

– School choice is good politics. Overwhelmingly, 70% of Georgia parents agree with the statement that parents know best what their child needs and should have options for educating their child and that money should be directed to the school the parent chooses for the child, according to a new poll. Seven out of ten Georgians also say they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who supports school choice for parents. Source: Americans for Prosperity

Social media
– This Week in The Forum: House Resolution 1162 — the constitutional amendment resolution designed to benefit start-up charter schools — moved out of committee on Thursday. The next step will be the House where the bill needs two-thirds approval before it could be sent to the Senate. Georgia’s image as an education innovator is on the line. House Majority Whip Ed Lindsey explained why the constitutional amendment is about more than just the charter schools question. Forum editor Mike Klein reported Georgia penitentiaries continue to feed, clothe and pay medical expenses for hundreds of inmates who were approved for parole but who cannot be release because they have nowhere to live. Foundation Vice President Benita Dodd wrote about health saving accounts and other ways to save for health care costs in this week’s Checking Up on Health.  Next week the Forum will be reporting from the 2012 Georgia Logistics Summit; almost 1,400 are registered to attend on Wednesday at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta.

Visit to read my commentary, “Georgia Tax and Spending by the Numbers.”

Have a great weekend.

Kelly McCutchen

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