This week, Vernon Malone (D - Wake) filed SB 198, which would modify restrictions on service on the State Board of Education.
The bill would allow two public school employees (including employees of the Department of Public Instruction) to serve as members of the State Board of Education. Previously, only one public school employee could serve on the SBE, and no DPI employees were allowed to be appointed to the SBE.
Malone's bill clears the way for Bill Harrison, the new "CEO" of North Carolina's public schools to serve on the SBE.
For what it's worth, I prefer the "old" rules, which didn't allow the governor to blur the line between DPI and the SBE. In the immortal words of Offspring,
Hey - man you talkin' back to me?
Take him out
You gotta keep 'em separated
Hey - man you disrespecting me?
Take him out
You gotta keep 'em separated
Anyway, at the February State Board of Education meeting, Howard Lee announced that Eulada Watt (Congressman Mel Watt's wife) had resigned from the Board. Mrs. Watt was appointed to the SBE by Governor Easley in 2007. Governor Perdue will have the opportunity to appoint someone from District 6 (Anson, Cabarrus, Cleveland, Gaston, Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Stanly, and Union counties).
With this change in the law, Harrison's appointment, and Watt's resignation, Governor Perdue will be swinging the State Board of Education in her direction, right quick.
Michael states at the beginning of his post that the Pew study "will cause Raleigh city planners fits." But in fact at the end of his post he tells us exactly why it won't: "Raleigh city planners, like planners all over NC, don't care what people want."
If you want to see and hear what the folks at the Chicago Board of Trade think of O's plan to bail out mortgages and to make his administration the supreme ruler of the banking and home loan industries check out this video from CNBC.
NYT columnist David Brooks reports here on a Pew Research Center study that will cause Raleigh city planners fits. People don't want to live in the cities that planners are building. The new Raleigh Comprehensive Plan, which is about to be approved by the city council, uses zoning to force Raleigh residents into seven high density transit oriented development (TOD) areas where they will live in high rise condos and skinny houses and travel by light rail, buses and bikes.
According to the Pew Research Center city dwellers are least happy with where they live. While young people think NYC is great, but only 14 percent of people over 35 would like to live there.
Only 52 percent of urbanites rate their communities “excellent” or
“very good,” compared with 68 percent of suburbanites and 71 percent of
the people who live in rural America.
Most cities where people would like to live are in the West.
Seven of the top 10 were in the West: Denver, San Diego, Seattle, San
Francisco, Phoenix, Portland and Sacramento. The other three were in
the South: Orlando, Tampa and San Antonio. Eastern cities were down the list and Midwestern cities were at the bottom
Raleigh city planners, like planners all over NC, don't care what people want. They are driven by planning ideology and peer pressure from the profession. Unfortunately, they have the political power to force their will on us. The new Raleigh Comprehensive Plan will be approved and the live-style restrictions will be enforced.
The leftist line that our current economic woes are due to capitalism has been heard over and over ever since the implosion began in 2007. The Feb. 13 issue of Chronicle Review has an article that takes the cake for mindless glee in pronouncing that free-market theory has been discredited. Here's the letter I just sent in response.
Christopher Phelps' article "Beyond Economic Revival" (Feb. 13) cannot go without comment. Phelps asserts, apropos of the current economic turmoil, "The recent riot of capitalistic irresponsibility has shattered the fantasy that the free market, left to its own devices, will produce rationality and prosperity." He also contends that what he calls the conservative position regarding the New Deal "ought, by all rights, to be on the ropes."
More indefensible claims have never been made. Phelps, a historian, simply doesn't know what he's talking about.
Ever since the economic implosion began, the standard line from statist politicians and intellectuals has been that it was due to "laissez-faire ideology" and deregulation. That notion has been refuted over and over. The great economic bubble could never have arisen but for an array of government interventions that caused artificially low interest rates and then steered most of that money into the housing sector. The Federal Reserve is a non-market actor. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are government-sponsored enterprises that gave investors the impression that the securities they issued were backed by the federal government. The Community Reinvestment Act and the political mania for maximizing the number of people owning rather than renting was equally a creation of politics, not the market.
How those and other federal interventions created the conditions for the housing bubble has been frequently demonstrated, for example in Professor Steven Horwitz's "An Open Letter to my Friends on the Left" (http://myslu.stlawu.edu/~howritz/open_letter.htm).
What many economists have come to understand is that whenever the government promotes artificially cheap money and credit, the result is to distort the pattern of investment and resource allocation in the economy. We get overexpansion in those sectors of the economy most sensitive to interest rates, such as housing. Cheap credit leads to, as the Austrian economists Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek explained, malinvestments that cannot be sustained in the long run. Far from putting that argument "on the ropes," the events of the Great Depression and of our current recession strongly confirm it.
Blaming laissez-faire capitalism for the consequences of government interference with our system of money and credit, with the standards of lending institutions, and with many other aspects of the free market's allocation of resources is an egregious case of blaming the victim.
The Peterson-Chingos study, published in the peer-reviewed research section of the forthcoming issue of Education Next (Spring 2009), confirms that the effect of for-profit management of schools is positive relative to district schools, with math impacts being statistically significant.
Over the last six years, students learned each year an average of 25 percent of a standard deviation more in math -- roughly 60 percent of a year’s worth of learning -- than they would have had the school been under district management. In reading, the estimated average annual impact of for-profit management is a positive 10 percent of a standard deviation -- approximately 36 percent of a year’s worth of reading. Only the math differences are statistically significant, however.
The researchers found the difference between the effects of for-profit and nonprofit management even more stark. In math, students in for-profits gained between 70 percent and greater than a year’s worth of learning more each year than in schools under nonprofit management. In reading, students learned approximately two-thirds of a year more in a for-profit than a nonprofit. Both math and reading impacts were statistically significant.
The analysis was based on tests cores and demographic and enrollment information between 2001 and 2008 in the School District of Philadelphia. Read the full study here (PDF download).
I'm paraphrasing from Laura Leslie's interview Wednesday with Senate Majority Leader Tony Rand. They discussed Rand's bill to cut off funding for legislative pay after a set number of days in a legislative session. (You'll find it near the end of this post, which offers some other interesting budget news.)
Leslie: But you're not talking about setting a closing date. You're talking about cutting off per diems [daily pay], right?
Rand: They tend to be ... [chuckle] ... They tend to co-exist pretty well.
When Leslie asked how lawmakers would meet new deadlines, given their track record of extending budget negotitations past July 1 almost every year, Rand responded:
We don't have a deadline. We have a beginning of a fiscal year, but it's not a deadline. As you know, we've had deadlines set by courts. We've had deadlines set by this, deadlines set by that. We always meet those deadlines because they're real deadlines. The fiscal year is a bookkeeping entry, and it's very little trouble for us to pass a continuing resolution, as you well know, and the world sails right along. But when you cut the money off, the sails will come down, and the sails will no longer sail.
This is one case in which I do not feel compelled to offer this response. (But it was fun to hear it again anyway.)
Here's an angle on the "stimulus" bill I haven't come across in the hundreds of articles I've read on the topic: its implications for illegal immigration.
Before taking a final vote, House and Senate negotiators removed a section of the bill that would have required employers to verify the immigration status of potential employees if using "stimulus" money to hire them. Seems reasonable to me, but, alas, few parts of this process have been reasonable.
While it's impossible to say definitively how many illegal immigrants will get jobs, multiple studies estimate at least 14 percent of the construction labor force is in the U.S. illegally. Experts say actual numbers are likely much higher.
North Carolina could get $1.3 billion for highway and school construction, which, based on federal estimates, could mean more than 5,000 jobs for undocumented workers.
“That's not right,” said Jon Holstead, 24, a Charlotte electrician helping to build Salome Church Road Elementary School near Lowe's Motor Speedway. “You have Americans out of work, but you have illegal immigrants coming to work.”
The half-full/half-empty joke is a false dichotomy, someone pointed out. It could be that the glass is too big.
Back when the railroads ran their own passenger systems (albeit not much better at the end than Amtrak does now), they found a solution. It could still work; regardless that this is not a rural route, if it only attracts a dozen passengers, that tells you how big the train needs to be.
I did find this tidbit in the Charlotte Observer coverage of the event enlightening:
The Piedmont, which runs each morning from Raleigh to Charlotte and returns each evening, was carrying 10 passengers, [Amtrak spokesman Cliff] Black said. Most were taken by taxi to Charlotte, but some were picked up by friends in Harrisburg. [Emphasis mine].
Just speculating here, but could devoting a large Amtrak train to a Raleigh-Charlotte route with so few passengers be ... well ... maybe a waste?
State Rep. Jimmy Love (D - Harnett, Lee) filed HB223-09, a very sensible bill that would require the legislature's Program Evaluation Division to study the cost and effectiveness of requiring high school graduation projects. Local school boards would be permitted to keep the requirement in place.
Until the empirical evidence says otherwise, I do not think that graduation projects are worth the time and money that school district personnel and families would have to invest to complete them. Then again, when has the State Board of Education ever cared about costs and benefits?
WASHINGTON -- FDR's analogies, like his policies, are being
recycled. As money gushes from Washington like water from a fire hose,
consider how bailout promiscuity is coloring politics at all levels.
Brian Tierney is CEO of Philadelphia Media Holdings, which publishes
Philadelphia's Inquirer and Daily News and has missed loan payments
since June. Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell's spokesman says Tierney has
had "a number of conversations" with Rendell about receiving state
money that "could come from a number of revenue streams."
"Never," said Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., when voting against the
stimulus, "have so few spent so much so quickly to do so little." Three
of his contentions are correct. The $787 billion price tag is probably
at least two-thirds too low: Add the cost of borrowing to finance it,
and allow for the certainty that many "temporary" programs will become
permanent, and the price soars far above $2 trillion.
Cole's fourth contention, however, is wrong. The stimulus,
which the Congressional Budget Office says will, over the next 10
years, reduce GDP by crowding out private investment, already is doing
a lot by fostering cynicism in the service of opportunism.
In thisEducation Week op-ed, Tim Pawlenty, governor of Minnesota, and Jim Hunt, former governor of North Carolina, outline their vision for improving human resource practices in urban school districts. They conclude,
The bottom-line message is clear: If we want to attract and retain the best possible teachers for 21st-century students and schools, we need to use 21st-century human-resources practices. Make it easy for highly qualified applicants to secure teaching and principal positions. Give them opportunities and incentives to strengthen their abilities throughout their careers. Provide the leadership that continues to inspire over time. And establish clear standards to provide every educator a road map for success.
This is not bad, although they do not acknowledge that politics that would make broad implementation of their vision near impossible. Of all people, Hunt should be able to appreciate that fact.
The country is still ringing with the sort of nonsense Alter has been writing about the economic crises of the 1930s and now -- that the problems were caused by too much capitalism and not enough government regulation. For instance, in a recent piece in The Chronicle Review (February 13 --subscriber site) history professor Christopher Phelps writes, "The riot of capitalist irresponsibility has shattered the fantasy that the free market, left to its own devices, will produce rationality and prosperity."
Nothing could possibly be more wrong.
To help people understand the Great Depression, David Gordon has published this piece, a bibliography of works on the Great Depression and New Deal. The books Gordon mentions refute the standard, pro-interventionist contentions that the Great Depression was the fault of laissez-faire and that government "stimulus" was necessary to restart the economy.
That famous Santayana line -- "those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it" -- is particularly apt right now. Because few Americans have learned the history of the Depression, but rather have been taught falsehoods that serve the interests of politicians and their special interest group allies, we're in great danger of repeating the disastrous economic blunders of the 1930s.