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Tuesday, May 17, 2005

More time to squander

Well, you would think with all the noise about the last do-nothing bill (see my last post) that the Democrats would learn. But no, there are actually two other bills drawn up with the exact same purpose as the last. One bill is attacking the president on social security reform and one bill attacks the president on gas prices.

The gas bill is supposed to come up Wednesday, but we will see. They rolled the last one three times before they presented it. I guess they needed time to produce those pretty charts. I am sort of curious to see what they will say this time since gas prices are going down, and also because the democrats have offered no plan of their own regarding social security.

Once again the point is to mire constituents and the media onlookers in a partisan sideshow, therefore shifting the spotlight away from the issues that we as legislators in the Tennessee General Assembly can actually do something about. The Democratic leadership is waving charts and gas prices in one hand so that you don't notice that they are missing-in-action on TennCare, ethics indiscretions, anti-gun votes, etc.

The Democrats must be getting nervous that their lack of any real legislative agenda is finally being exposed. I encourage constituents to pay attention to what I consider to be campaign tactics on the taxpayer dime. Maybe some people think it was cute the first time Democratic leadership was grandstanding about the federal budget, but I'm interested to see what taxpayers think about an ongoing partisan waste of taxpayer time.

I wonder if the media will find it funny, or if it will anger them that a lot of serious issues aren't getting near the legislative attention as these bills.

John J. Hooker now has a blog. I wonder if he can post his old jingles he used to have. They were great.

Governor Bredesen took down his Pre-K survey. Why aren't the results up? Wonder why he took it down?

The Governor had a piece in the Knoxville News Sentinel this Saturday-a lot of generalities and fluff about his Pre-K victory. It would have been a good opportunity to tout his blog survey results-but he didn't put it in there (wonder why?) Terry Frank wrote a great piece that appeared opposite Bredesen's in the Sentinel. It's worth the read, and she mentioned some of the concerns that we Republican legislators had tried to get across.

Remember the battle cry of the politician who doesn't want the facts examined: “It's for the children!” It works every time. Enough said.


  1. It makes me so angry that politicians like Naifeh and Bredesen are so cavalier with their positions. They have a real chance to make some changes and they do nothing! I was at the State of the State address and the big issue then was TennCare. But since then, I haven't heard two words about it. But let's see what I have heard about:

    -Naifeh and his complete inability to connect with the public that elected him
    -Bredesen and this useless Pre-K initiative
    -Sen. Ford and all his indiscretions

    I work for Steve Gill, so I keep pretty accurate tabs on what goes on up there. But for others who aren't as fortunate, politicians like Bredesen should be posting more than Pre-K polls.
    Keep blogging! You're doing exactly what the ideal politician should;
    taking criticism, compliments and suggestions from those who elected you. And it's also fun to watch the snakes up there throw fits about your blog!

  2. The poll came down Sunday. The final results I saw on Saturday put expansion opponents ahead (49%, 48%, and 3%). It was making the rounds on several national homeschool lists and blogs, which is what I suspect tipped the scales (and perhaps why the poll came down).

    Natalie~homeschooling mom in MS

  3. Rep. Campfield is right - when Senate Republicans didn't want the facts examined on expanding Charter Schools, they simply cried, "it's for the children."

    Nevermind that the bulk of national research suggests that Charter Schools are not serving students well. Nevermind that the TN program is just 2 years old with only one year of data available for study. We need to expand Charter Schools, says the GOP, because they give kids a better opportunity.

    Well, not according to the evidence -- but don't mind that -- Charter Schools are for the kids.

    Philosophically, I support the idea of Charter Schools -- and it's possible that in TN, the law we passed in 2002 got it right -- but we need to examine the facts because if we don't, we're doing a disservice to the children.

  4. Can you provide bill numbers for these latest examples of how House Dems are going to be wasting more time?

  5. The "Little Congress" that thought it could.

    When are they going to start naming stars in the sky? That would eat up a few billion hours.

    What about trying to name the village idiot? Shouldn't take too long to come up with that one.

    Just 2 years ago you would have thought Armegeddon was bearing down on them. Funny how different things are after they gouged our back pockets and are sitting on huge surpluses every year since. Fat, dumb and happy!

  6. Nice try, Andy. I would posit that your folks' little studies and efforts to "consider" them (yes, DEE-LIB-UR-ATE like good legislators for a couple of years or until we find a study that supports our view!?!!) were merely tactics to deep six Charter schools. I'm glad to hear that you support the concept, but what's not to like about Charter schools? unless of course you are beholden to education unions and believe that if we throw more money to educrats all the problems will go away.

  7. Thanks, powertee. The studies cited were not "little" -- they come from such places as the U.S. Dept. of Education (controlled by the Bush Admin), Columbia University, Duke University, and the University of Connecticut.

    My personal opposition to the Charter Schools bill had nothing to do with Teacher's Unions or throwing money at the problem -- in fact, i contend the BEP has not worked and am personally conducting research on its impact.

    What concerns me is that we are dealing with children in an experimental program -- under current law, there is plenty of flexibility and an allowance for up to 140 charter schools -- 126 more than will be in existence next year ... in 2008, when the current law sunsets, we'll have ample data on what has gone on in Tennessee -- whether it has worked or not.

    Some research suggests that Charter Schools actually do WORSE than their public school counterparts in handling at-risk kids. If this turns out to be true, we've done our children a grave disservice.

    By comparison, we are only gradually expanding pre-k and any expansion must come back before the legislature for authorization each year.

    I like Charter Schools -- the idea seems like a good one. But let's move slowly, cautiously, and carefully to be sure we really are doing what's best for our kids.

  8. Well, I see your problem right there . . . gauging its success solely by its impact on "at risk" kids. Whoever said that was the most important factor? I don't doubt that Charter schools fall short of serving them, because their problem is no parents, not "bad" schools. Not to mention, it makes sense that Charter Schools are not designed to dumbdown their curricula to not leave behind kids who need parenting. But I don't think I understand your problem with GOP Senators and this Charter Schools bill, can you elaborate?

  9. After re-reading your post, I think I understand your complaint, but you're not getting the point about Charter Schools. Conservatives are more concerned about mixing it up with the education bureaucracy (which ultimately serves its own interests, not those of the public and which is failing and has failed in serving individual students), than we are about the short-term issues. Any amount of free-market principles we can introduce into the public education system the better the system will be in the long-run.

    And, to clarify, were you pushing that the Legislature "go slow" on universal "pre-k"?

  10. First, yes -- the legislature should go slow on "universal pre-k" ... with this year's plan, the state will add up to 6,000 students ... only those labeled "at-risk" are eligible and the program is voluntary -- additional expansion should be done with caution -- I'm not sold on mandatory universal pre-k ... and want to see some results before we go further...

    i agree -- let's introduce free market principles into public education -- let's have school choice -- if you want to go to another school in your district, go for it -- i favor Site-based decision-making -- each community of parents and educators should decide what curriculum, schedule, extra-curriculars, etc. work for their community.

    on Charters, the point I was making was that the 2002 legislation restricted Charter Schools to students in failing schools ... new legislation passed in the Senate focuses additionally on "at-risk" kids regardless of school -- so my point is, Charter Schools in TN (and elsewhere) promised to better serve at-risk kids and those at "at-risk" schools better than the current system ... the studies show that the Charter Schools in existence (in North Carolina, for example) are not doing that job very well.

    Can a school with an innovative program produce students who not only pass standardized tests but also are better able to compete for jobs and get into college? Probably -- and such innovation should be encouraged through competition.

    My real point is that we should be careful when dealing with our children ... if we are putting them in Charter Schools that are performing at lower levels than our miserable public schools, that's not really helping.

    I also have ideas that sharply contrast with the teachers' unions in terms of tenure, etc. We need to promote excellence at all levels in the education process .. and that includes at the teacher level. That said, those teachers truly doing an excellent job are significantly underpaid under the current system. The mediocre and below teachers ruin it for everyone else.

  11. Busting up the American Public Ed. Cartel . . . it's for the children.

  12. What is Mr. Hooker's blog url?


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