Friday Facts: November 19th, 2010

It’s Friday!



– “[Legislators] like to control money and we like to control where children go [to school]. I think we need to break that mold. Whether it’s home school, charter school, virtual charter school, we have it in our Constitution to ensure that every child gets a quality education.” – Georgia State Representative Alisha Morgan

– “President Obama was in India yesterday visiting our jobs. Tomorrow he goes to China to visit our money.” – Jay Leno


What’s happening at the Foundation

– The Georgia Public Policy Foundation and the Georgia Chamber of Commerce will co-sponsor the second annual Education Reform Conference on December 3 at theMarriott City Center Hotel & Centreplex in Macon. This year’s conference focuses on K-12 accountability and features nationally acclaimed speakers and groundbreaking education research. For more information and to register, go to

– Register now for, ABCs+D = The Virtual Success of Digital Learning, a Georgia Public Policy Foundation Policy Briefing Luncheon at noon on Tuesday, December 7, at the Georgian Club in Cobb County. The event will be keynoted by Majority Leader Chip Rogers, recently named to the Digital Learning Council, The cost to attend is $35. For information and to register, click on this link:

– Join The Forum, an interactive community of Georgians discussing the issues of greatest concern with the Foundation’s experts. Register and start the discussion at



– Tripped up? Five present and former leaders of California’s $43-billion bullet train project are under investigation as the state ethics commission determines whether they violated regulations on receipt of gifts, the Los Angeles Times reports. Officials with the California High-Speed Rail Authority reportedly took various trips to Spain, France and Germany last year paid for by foreign governments jockeying to help their homeland firms secure state contracts. The trips, some worth thousands of dollars, were donated to the authority then allotted to board members and executives. Because of that, officials said most board members did not have to disclose the travel on annual reports of gifts, income and personal investments. Source:



– Academic efficiency: In anticipation of this year’s record enrollment in Georgia colleges, Georgia’s Board of Regents directed the growth toward “access institutions,” the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. These 16 campuses, including two-year colleges such as Atlanta Metropolitan College and Georgia Perimeter College, are cheaper to operate than research universities, such as the University of Georgia, and have the ability to quickly absorb more students. Taxpayers spent $237 million over five years to support students at four-year colleges and universities in Georgia who dropped out before their sophomore year, the American Institutes for Research reported in “Finishing the First Lap.”

– The U.S. Department of Education was created with the primary stated goal of increasing students’ test scores, but test scores for 17-year-old American students have remained essentially flat since 1970. The department’s budget has grown to a whopping $107 billion this year. Per pupil, taxpayer-financed education spending (adjusted for inflation) has risen by more than 200 percent since 1970 (and 150-plus percent since 1980). Clearly and unambiguously, the department deserves a grade of “F”, says Richard W. Rahn, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. Source: Washington Times


Health care

– If you know the usual attribution of the quote, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs,” it’s easy to see the writing on the wall for health care – and it doesn’t spell individual responsibility. “More and more companies in the last year or so have begun signaling their recognition of the added burden shouldered by workers in low- and middle-income jobs by varying the health insurance premiums they pay based on salary,” The New York Times reports.



– Shining a light on government: Sunshine Review this week launched, an online government transparency platform and guide for legislators and activists. The site will host tools for activists and model legislation that can be introduced and adapted by legislators and elected officials for state and local government transparency. The Sunshine Standard model legislation was endorsed by the American Legislative Exchange Council Annual Conference this year.

– The Washington Examiner reports that of more than 5,000 state and local government Web sites analyzed to assess their transparency on a 10-point scale, Sunshine Review found that only about 40 scored a 9 or 10. Among them were Clayton, Cobb and Henry counties with a perfect score and Columbia and Richmond counties with an “A.”


– Visit to read the Foundation’s latest Issue Analysis, “Online Learning: An Opportunity to Transform Public Education in Georgia,” by Michael Horn.


Have a great weekend.


Kelly McCutchen


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