This past Sunday’s edition of the Des Moines Register featured a detailed article about Maryland schools surpassing Iowa schools based because of reforms enacted over the last decade. A major centerpiece of these reforms was an accountability system that “put schools on notice” by requiring students to be proficient in essential school subjects.
How Maryland overhauled schools while Iowa fell back
Principal: Maryland sets ‘very clear expectations’ for faculty, students. ‘There’s no room for excuses.’
By Mary Stegmeir
BALTIMORE — It’s 8:45 a.m. — just after the morning bell — and the youngsters in Noelle Hickok’s Liberty Elementary School class are hard at work.
The 4- and 5-year-olds take turns reciting alphabet letters and their phonetic pronunciations as Hickok nods approvingly.
“Perfect. My friends are ready to read,” she says.
The claim would have seemed unlikely just two decades ago.
At that time, Iowa students led the nation in reading proficiency. Maryland children performed below the national average, and students from inner-city Baltimore schools, like Liberty, posted abysmal scores on state tests.
Today, the tables have turned. After more than 20 years of statewide education reform, elementary and middle school students in Maryland outperform their Iowa counterparts in reading and math.
How did this change happen? Read on…
From the Cato Institute
By Michael F. Cannon
ObamaCare aims to cover 16 million poor uninsured adults through Medicaid, plus 16 million higher-income uninsured Americans through government-subsidized “private” insurance. Supporters portrayed these “reforms” as a matter of life and death, particularly for the poor. Yet a monumental new study finds that “Medicaid coverage generated no significant improvements in measured physical health outcomes” for poor adults. These findings strengthen the case that states should stop implementing ObamaCare, and Congress should swiftly repeal it.
In 2008, Oregon launched an ObamaCare field test. The state handed out Medicaid slots via lottery to thousands of the very folks to whom ObamaCare opens Medicaid. Economists then studied the differences between the lottery winners and losers. The random assignment of subjects makes Oregon’s the most reliable study—indeed the only reliable study—ever conducted on the effects of Medicaid.
Why did the results stun supporters of Obamacare? Read on…
With the end of session near, only a few issues remain to be solved, one of them being Education Reform (House File 215). While several parts of the reform have reached mutual agreement, a major piece that is still to be decided is yearly evaluations of teachers.
Below is an article featured on Bloomberg Businessweek’s website on May 9th which discusses reforms made to New Haven, Connecticut public schools. A big part of the reforms in Connecticut involved evaluations that were based on a teacher’s classroom performance as well as whether students master their subjects.
The result: Higher test scores and higher graduation rates.
New Haven Shows How You Fix Public Schools
From Bloomberg Businessweek
By Devin Leonard
The end of the school year is usually a happy time, but not for David Cicarella, president of the New Haven Federation of Teachers. He’s getting ready to have difficult conversations with some of his members, teachers who have flunked the Connecticut school district’s yearlong evaluation process. Cicarella will tell them the union won’t defend them, even if they have tenure. It’s time for them to look for another job.
by Dennis Jacobe, Chief Economist
Forty-one percent are holding off on hiring because of the Affordable Care Act
PRINCETON, NJ — Forty-eight percent of U.S. small-business owners say the 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA) is going to be bad for their business, compared with 9% who say it is going to be good, and 39% who expect no impact.
Read the rest of the survey here…
By Representative Walt Rogers
I have the privilege of guiding the legislation pertaining to the Healthy Iowa Plan, the alternative to Medicaid expansion, in the Iowa House. Last week, the House passed the bill and sent it to the Senate. I read The Des Moines Resister’s editorial about the bill (“Branstad Plan Still Pales Next to Medicaid,” May 2) and it left me greatly disappointed that the largest newspaper in our state could write an opinion so biased and incomplete.
I, and every legislator in the House, understand the seriousness of this legislation. It doesn’t take an “expert” to do that. It takes caring, objective and discerning people to assess our situation economically and morally.
Medicaid is a flawed and inadequate system. Inadequate was the word used byproponents of Medicaid at the recent public hearing on the Healthy Iowa Plan.
Read the rest of Rep. Roger’s editorial…
From the Heritage Foundation
By Alyene Senger
As Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion is being debated in the states, many myths are being perpetuated by its advocates. Here, Heritage provides the research to debunk such myths:
1. Myth: Expanding Medicaid is “free money” for the states.
Reality: The expansion adds an estimated $638 billion in new government spending from 2013–2023. New spending at the federal or state level is reckless in light of the country’s trillion dollar budget deficits and over $16 trillion in national debt. As Governor Rick Perry (R–TX)stated, “[T]here is no such thing as ‘free’ money. We know there’s only money that’s collected from taxpayers, and money borrowed from other countries like China against the good credit of our children and grandchildren.”
What are the other myths? …
The steady march of more normal soil and water conditions moved even farther west in the past week, the U.S. Drought Monitor reported Thursday.
Roughly the western half of the state, 53 percent of the acres, are at least abnormally dry. Just 6 .4 percent of the state is in moderate to severe, drought, and none of it is classified as extreme.
Parts of central Iowa remain abnormally dray, but some is ranked as normal conditions.
The severe drought is limited to a sliver along the Missouri River counties.
The National Weather Service’s long-term forecast through July 31 expects the drought to continue to ease.
Many farmers expect to start planting this weekend or early next week, according to the office of Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey.
From the Des Moines Register
By Perry Beeman
A recent poll conducted by Gallup shows that individuals whose primary health insurance source is Medicaid, tend to have worse health than those with employer-provided insurance. This session, Senate Democrats want to add 150,000 more Iowans to the outdated, broken Medicaid system that does nothing to improve patient’s health.
The Healthy Iowa Plan however, is a modern plan that helps Iowans get healthier through accountability and wellness measures. This will result in lower costs to the state, making the Healthy Iowa Plan fiscally responsible and sustainable.
Read the full Gallup article here…
From the Heartland Institute
By Merrill Matthews, Ph.D
Democrats are desperately hoping the states will accept the Medicaid expansion being foisted on them by President Obama’s health care law, but they may be disappointed.
The primary reason for their concern is blatantly self-serving: ObamaCare’s success, like its RomneyCare prequel in Massachusetts, will be judged solely by how many uninsured people get coverage. The pretense of increasing quality and lowering costs was abandoned months ago; now it’s all about reducing the uninsured.
If states refuse the Medicaid expansion, which the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled they can do, the whole idea of universal coverage goes out the window. And ObamaCare will be judged a failure.
Bad coverage, high cost, fraud… See the 7 reasons here…
KCCI News reported yesterday that Techie.com has named Des Moines as one of the top 10 cities most unexpected for high-tech innovation.
The article reads that “With business costs 16 percent below the national average, Des Moines has been attracting young, scrappy technology startups and companies relocating from the coasts.” It also boasts that Des Moines “offers several business incubators, a wide range of notable start-ups and a prime environment for young professionals.”
To read the full KCCI article, click here.
Click here to see Techie.com’s list of the Top 10.