I have four children, and I want them to grow up in a country that has a working First Amendment.
Even though he is no longer with us, I think Milton Friedman should still be offered a seat at the healthcare summit going on in Washington D.C. right now. Maybe in his absence we can just play this video…
This morning on NPR, Steve Inskeep interviewed Senator Richard Durbin regarding the healthcare legislation currently before Congress. The conversation moved towards the potential use of the reconciliation strategy that would allow congressional democrats to pass healthcare legislation with a mere 51 votes in the Senate.
After some generalities were discussed, Inskeep asked a very direct question: Even knowing that the majority of Americans are opposed to this legislation, will you pass this using reconciliation?
His response: I hope it doesn’t come to that.
Seriously? Inskeep, not satisfied with the answer, asked the question again. This time Durbin basically said that Americans may be scared of it now but the legislation will benefit them in the end.
Wow. Regardless of how you view healthcare reform, this is a problem. Is this the attitude we want our elected representatives to have? This is a problem that is true on every level of government and is particularly of interest in Kentucky right now as the 2010 General Assembly is under way. Take the time to learn about what is going on in Frankfort and contact your representative to tell them how you feel about legislation that is important to you.
– Central Falls wasn’t fooling
We reported a few days ago that the Central Falls School District’s superintendent was unable to get teachers to agree to an improvement plan and was planning to fire all the teachers in the district’s Central Falls High School.
Now, the Central Falls Board of Education has voted to do precisely that – firing every teacher in their dismally performing high school – apparently reading out every one of the school staff members’ names individually during the process to leave no doubt what so ever about the action.
This dramatic vote actually came shortly after union folks from across the state, and even outside Rhode Island, descended on Central Falls in a noisy, rancorous rally.
Apparently, the Central Falls Board just had enough of horrendous dropout rates and lousy test scores, so even teacher-attempted intimidation didn’t work.
The board was also unimpressed when teachers refused salary increases of $3,400 to do the extra things needed to try to turn the failing school around. Teachers demanded three times as much as the district could afford.
While teachers are screaming, the Central Falls Board has some pretty impressive backup in its corner.
One of those backers is Rhode Island’s Education Commissioner Deborah A. Gist.
Gist moved swiftly on new federal guidelines which tagged Central Falls High as one of her state’s very lowest performers. Gist told the impacted districts and schools that they had until March 17 to decide which federal reform model they wanted to use. When the Central Falls teachers turned down a reform model that would have preserved their jobs, the local board and superintendent were forced to take more drastic action.
More support for the board’s action comes from a really high-powered source.
The Rhode Island News says U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan applauded the local board for “showing courage and doing the right thing for kids.”
I don’t know if Rhode Island applied for Race to the Top funding, but if they did, I would suspect the action in Central Falls will give the state a huge boost in the competition.
Meanwhile, some Kentucky schools founder along pretty much on a par with Central Falls High, but despite all the noise about reform, Kentucky hasn’t displayed anything like the determination in Rhode Island to have teachers either get on board with real reforms – or get out.
That lack of commitment might come back to bite us when Secretary Duncan starts to hand out those Race to the Top funds in the next few weeks.
A new report shows students who took advantage of Milwaukee’s school voucher program had a high school graduation rate 12 points higher than the public schools in that city posted. That works out to be 18 percent better than the city school’s 65 percent grad rate.
The report says that over 3,000 more students would have graduated from public schools if they had matched the voucher students’ performance.
Aside from the obvious social benefits, the research indicates that higher rate could have generated an additional $21.2 million in personal income and $3.6 million in extra tax revenue if it had actually occurred.
Furthermore, while Milwaukee pays $6,442 per pupil for each voucher, that is less than half the $14,011 spent in the Milwaukee Public Schools.
Thus, “bang for the buck” from the voucher program is astronomical.