Thursday, November 26, 2009

Bipartisan Reforms Would Strengthen State Education

This article by Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop makes sense. Education must be a top priority in our long run economic growth in our state (along with improving the business climate). The challenge is finding sufficient savings in the remainder of the state budget to keep adequately funding education without raising taxes. It can be done.

Bipartisan reforms would strengthen state education
Sen. Michael D. Bishop

Politics should stop at the classroom door when reforming education.

Michigan must move now to turn around failing schools.

When it comes to improving the education of our children, making sure they have top-quality schools and preparing them for 21st-century jobs, we must put politics aside and work together

Now is the time to make real, meaningful reforms to turn around failing schools and increase statewide student achievement.

Senate Republicans continue to work on several key reforms that fulfill the requirements of President Barack Obama's Race to the Top plan, which makes our state eligible for up to $400 million in additional funding to improve Michigan schools. . . . ”

Senate bills

  • Bill 965: Creates an "interim teaching certificate" for individuals with a college bachelor's degree who are taking a 12 credit hour alternative "intensive teaching program" that meets state standards.
  • Bills 925 and 926: Allows "schools of excellence" operated by highly accredited charter or other public schools from outside the state. They don't count against state cap of 150 charter schools. Districts where these schools exist would receive state "transition payments" to ease possible student losses.
  • Bills 981-983: Failing public schools could run by a "turnaround school chief educational officer" or management firm that could reassign workers, suspend union work rules and control curriculum and discretionary spending.

Click here for more.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

10 Republican Principles Proposed by RNC Leaders

Some members of the Republican National Committee (RNC) signed on to a resolution that will be proposed at the RNC's winter meeting in January, which lists 10 positions Republican candidates should support to demonstrate that they "espouse conservative principles and public policies":
  1. We support smaller government, smaller national debt, lower deficits and lower taxes by opposing bills like Obama's "stimulus" bill;
  2. We support market-based health care reform and oppose Obama-style government run health care;
  3. We support market-based energy reforms by opposing cap and trade legislation;
  4. We support workers' right to secret ballot by opposing card check;
  5. We support legal immigration and assimilation into American society by opposing amnesty for illegal immigrants;
  6. We support victory in Iraq and Afghanistan by supporting military-recommended troop surges;
  7. We support containment of Iran and North Korea, particularly effective action to eliminate their nuclear weapons threat;
  8. We support retention of the Defense of Marriage Act;
  9. We support protecting the lives of vulnerable persons by opposing health care rationing and denial of health care and government funding of abortion; and
  10. We support the right to keep and bear arms by opposing government restrictions on gun ownership.

In the spirit of Ronald Reagan "that someone who agreed with him 8 out of 10 times was his friend, not his opponent.", I agree with the 10 principles.

The only one I may not be in total agreement is No. 1, in that I probably would have voted for "a" stimulus bill, as the economy was close to a meltdown. I would have wanted a bill more aimed with tax cuts, rather than spending on pet projects that furthered the Democrats' agenda and paid off some of their campaign debts to many interest groups.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Lifelong Learning

Yesterday I finished listening to the 36 lecture CD series, "Economics", by Timothy Taylor, one of the "Great Courses" from The Teaching College. Even after having taken 27 courses in Economics or Econometrics throughout the years, it was a great refresher, with a very balanced discussion of the pros and cons of many policy issues. I highly recommend it.

I have listened to MANY courses in the Great Courses series, making good use of my drive time, and highly recommend them. Many are available from the Saline District Library.

Anyone who says they cannot afford to get an education is making excuses, because if one wants, he/she can get an education free, just maybe not a college degree. A person can improve their marketability and value in the labor market.

I fully believe, in the long run, one is compensated in direct proportion to the service to others one provides. How much service do you wish to provide?