Archive for January 8th, 2007

A bottle of wine…

January 8, 2007

Sally was driving home from one of her business
  trips in Northern Arizona when she saw an elderly
  Navajo woman walking on the side of the road.

  As the trip was a long and quiet one, she stopped
  the car and asked the Navajo woman if she would like
  a ride.

  With a silent nod of thanks, the woman got into
  the car.

  Resuming the journey, Sally tried in vain to make
  a bit of small talk with the Navajo woman. The old
  woman just sat silently, looking intently at
  everything she saw, studying every little detail,
  until she noticed a brown bag on the seat next to
  Sally.

  “What in bag?” asked the old woman.

  Sally looked down at the brown bag and said, “It’s
  a bottle of wine. I got it for my husband.”

  The Navajo woman was silent for another moment or
  two.

  Then speaking with the quiet wisdom of an elder,
  she said:

  “Good trade…..”

🙂

Pitiful Politics cost lives and Liberty

January 8, 2007

“Military success on the ground now demands that we expand the rules of engagement to allow our troops to shoot more of the jihadists, disarm the militias, train even more Iraqis troops to take over security more quickly, and seal the Syrian and Iranian borders. This solution, of course, is easier said than done. The military must use more force against those who are destroying Iraqi democracy at precisely the time the American public has become exasperated with both the length and human cost of the war. Imagine this war as a sort of grotesque race. The jihadists and sectarians win if they can kill enough Americans to demoralize us enough that we flee before Iraqis and Afghans stabilize their newfound freedom. They lose if they can’t. Prosperity, security and liberty are the death knell to radical Islam. It’s that elemental.” —Victor Davis Hanson

The above from “The Patriot Post” Patriot Vol. 07 No. 02 

Why is it that the leftist elites cannot understand such simple things? Pelosi et al, all say that they are not in favor of surrender in Iraq. Yet? They constantly place our troops in an un-winnable meat grinder situation. I say turn the troops loose. Get rid of un-realistic Rules of Engagement that get our people killed, while at the same time insuring defeat. The Republican leadership is guilty of doing the same things, so this is not a partisan thing. Many years ago there was a story written in a national magazine. Life Magazine possibly; called  “The Politics of Defeat” or something much the same. Different war, same ideology.

EDUCATION REFORM IN COLORADO

January 8, 2007

The following is from the Independence Institutes Newsletter. The positions are doomed to failure though. Why? because it would neuter the Teachers Unions and actually make educators accountable for the product (students) that they produce. I also have trouble with categorizing the students into a curriculum at an age when most care more about hormone driven issues than academics.

Tasked With Overhauling Edueation in Colorado? :

Romanoff Task Force Should Hear from Wide Range of Voices

By Ben DeGrow

Jan 5th 2007
Speaker of the House Andrew Romanoff has focused his sights on a long-term overhaul of the state’s public education system. Yet any serious conversation to transform K-12 education in Colorado should include more than the list of usual interest group suspects.

The Speaker’s inspiration is the new report Tough Choices or Tough Times, a product of the distinguished leaders and experts on the New Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce. The report is a comprehensive blueprint to redesign public education to equip coming generations of Americans for the 21st Century’s rapidly changing economy.

Indeed, some of the proposals present the hope of positive change. The report calls for major modifications in subject standards, testing, teacher recruitment and compensation, and school funding and management. Yet such massive reforms certainly would encounter serious obstacles, not all of which should necessarily be moved.

Among those in Colorado with the most to lose would be the 178 school district boards. The current system is built around district control of locally-elected tax revenues, while the state constitution protects local control of curriculum. Tough Choices or Tough Times says all funding should be redirected through the state and that schools should be operated by various outside contractors-including teacher-run limited liability corporations.

Overlooked, however, were the findings of a 1997 Heartland Institute report by Dr. Caroline Hoxby, which showed a greater share of school funding from statewide revenue produces poorer academic results. Colorado has shifted more of the school funding burden to the state level in recent years, but following the commission’s prescription would be a far more drastic policy change with possible negative consequences.

These consequences could be overcome, or even reversed, through the competitive power of greater educational choice. “[P]arents and students could choose among all the available contract schools,” says the commission’s executive summary.

The call to change school management forms one of 10 interlocking proposals in the report. Significant among them is the honest and refreshing admission that the overhaul must be accomplished with current financial resources. “We can get where we must go only by fixing the system itself,” says the executive summary.

The commission says some savings will be found by establishing a State Board exam after the 10th grade, which will set students’ course either for an advanced academic curriculum, community college, or vocational training.

Further savings would come from realigning incentives to draw the brightest and best into the teaching profession. According to the commission, costly pensions for teachers should be replaced with something comparable to the best private sector retirement packages, freeing enough funds to offer the average teacher $45,000 in his first year. A statewide salary schedule would include incentives for performance or for choosing to teach in needy schools.

Besides the change in teacher pay, the commission also calls for states to use cost savings to provide high-quality, universal preschool, and to attach extra funding directly to students diagnosed with disabilities or special learning needs.

The report estimates $60 billion a year could be redirected to the three areas. Figured proportionally, Colorado’s annual share of the redistribution would be more than $900 million.

Romanoff wasted no time putting Colorado at the forefront of the reform conversation. The Denver Post reported that he wants to assemble “a task force of educators and parents” to create a plan for our state. The Speaker’s stated interest in such a bold project merits him some applause. Yet any discussions to transform Colorado’s school system should comprise a broad cross section of those interested in education.

Non-union teachers-more than a quarter of those in Colorado’s public schools-should be represented at the table. So should the most creative principals and leading educational entrepreneurs who have worked to offer kids and families new opportunities.

Moms and dads outside the PTA power structure, and other concerned taxpayers, should be welcomed aboard. The task force should take time to hear from struggling parents, many in poorer communities, who are dissatisfied with their children’s current educational opportunities.

Finally, the discussion should include CEOs, small business owners, and other private employers who hire the end products of the current school system. On the front lines of economic trends, they can offer invaluable input.

The task force created to debate the future shape of Colorado’s education system should not be confined to the narrow interest groups who typically dominate education policy conversations. A wider range of voices is needed to help shape how public schools can best serve this state’s citizens for the next generation.

Summary: Education task force needs to sort through suggested reforms from a new national report.

Word Count:750
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If you experience problems viewing this op-ed, you can find the op-ed on-line at: The Independence Institute

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(c) 2007
The Independence Institute
13952 Denver West Parkway, Suite 400
Golden, CO 80401
303-279-6536
www.independenceinstitute.org


INDEPENDENCE INSTITUTE is a non-profit, non-partisan Colorado think tank. It is governed by a statewide board of trustees and holds a 501(c)(3) tax exemption from the IRS. Its public policy research focuses on economic growth, education reform, local government effectiveness, and Constitutional rights.


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