Archive for September, 2011

10/2: No Child Left Behind state waivers

The AJC Editorial Board

It’s pretty clear that the federal No Child Left Behind Act isn’t living up to its name, despite good intentions. Too many children are still being left behind in our public schools.

That’s an intolerable situation in this day and time when Georgia and the rest of the U.S. are competing with the entire world for economic success. Coming away from that ongoing struggle with a sufficient level of job-producing economic growth requires in good measure a workforce that’s fit and ready for the 21st century and what it will demand of workers. That’s where schools come in.

Read what the AJC Editorial BoardState School Superintendent John Barge, and two educators have to say.   Then tell us what you think.

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9/30: Are surveillance cameras a good investment?

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

Public snooping or high-tech crime fighting? No matter, Big Brother will be watching you more often in the future. Surveillance cameras are multiplying on street corners and in cities around the world. The Atlanta Police Department recently launched a video command center to increase electronic surveillance. But not everybody thinks it’s a good — or an effective — idea.

Dave Wilkinson, president and CEO of the Atlanta Police Foundation, writes they are a good investment.

Brett Bittner, executive director of the Georgia Libertarian Party, writes that they are not effective.

Read what they have to say and comment below.

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Bad summer for smog

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

When it comes to quality of life, you can’t get more critical than air quality. And Atlanta is having a rough time with it. This past smog season, lasting from May through September 30, was a bad one. The opinion column below tells us why, and why the Obama Administration’s refusal to improve standards does not help. (For the record, the EPA declined to submit a response to the issue brought up in this piece.) What do you think? Could you tell this summer’s air was awful? Let us know how it affected you.

By Rebecca Watts Hull and Jeremy Sarnat

Atlanta’s 2011 “smog season” was a pretty bad one by any measure. This year Atlanta had 39 ozone violations, or days when ozone concentrations exceeded the 2008 ozone limit set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under George W. Bush.

Thirty-nine violations are bad enough, but the real public health tally is actually much worse. EPA’s Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC), …

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9/29: Women’s global reach

Moderated by Rick Badie

Atlanta played a vital role in the civil rights movement.

Today it should rightly assume its place as a leader in the human rights movement and the empowerment of women.

Guest columnist Elisabeth L. Marchant poses that challenge on the eve of a daylong conference that brings international leaders to the city to discuss solutions to global problems.

Read what we have to say and then comment below.

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9/28: Meriwether’s cloud lifts

Moderated by Rick Badie

The jobless rate of Meriwether County in west central Georgia — just south of Coweta County — hovers around 12 percent. So recent news that a global auto parts supplier plans to open a facility there arrived at an ideal time.

Today, business owner Virginia Hill and Robert Moreland, chairman of the Meriwether County Industrial Development Authority, share their joy.

Read about this chapter in the regional economy and have your say below.

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9/27: Should the Beltline get T-SPLOST money?

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

Mayors from Fulton County cities have been debating whether the Atlanta Beltline should get a major slice of revenue in next year’s transportation special purpose local option sales tax referendum.

North Fulton officials say the Beltline is economic development that won’t relieve traffic. Atlanta’s Mayor Kasim Reed disagrees and says it is a regional project.

Below, Reed squares off with Sandy Springs Mayor Eva Galambos, who says it does not meet tax objectives.

Read what they have to say and then comment below.

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9/26: No Child no more?

Moderated by Maureen Downey

Today, we explore proposed GOP changes to No Child Left Behind, changes that dramatically relax federal reins on our schools. The efforts to undo the law have inspired debate, as can be seen in  my column. And in a guest column, an economics professor contends that college remains a terrific investment for most people.

Read what we have to say and then comment below.

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9/25: Educators’ next chapter

The AJC Editorial Board

Great schools demand great teachers. And in recent years, Georgia has spent billions of dollars, in fits and starts, to increase teacher quality.

Yet we’re not where we need to be. Far from it.

Reporting last week in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution describes a decade-long “piecemeal and contradictory approach to improving teacher quality, with little evidence of success.”

We have to do better.

Read what Andre Jackson, writing for the Editorial Board has to say. Then read  the opinions of  Jon Schoening, who  teaches at Inman Elementary School in Fayette County;  Gwen Green,  a library media specialist at Stephenson Middle School in DeKalb County; Anthony Pattiz, who teaches social studies at Sandy Creek High School in Fayette County; and Monica Dorner, an English teacher at Sandy Creek High School in Fayette County.

Then tell us what you think about how to address teacher quality.

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9/23: No easy path on transportation tax decision

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

Transportation is key to quality time. Traffic jams can mean missed soccer games, family dinners and PTA meetings.

That’s where next year’s vote on the additional penny sales tax for transportation comes in.

Supporters such as Post Properties CEO David P. Stockert,  say passage will help Atlanta’s business and home life.

Personally, I’m still trying to make up my mind.

Read what we have to say and then comment below

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9/22: Passion for politics: Democratic and Republican

Moderated by Rick Badie

One embraces a Democratic heritage that, due to his activist mother, was molded at a tender age.

The other applies the Republican viewpoint when it comes to economic development and private business.

Tharon Johnson, 33, and Brad Carver, 39, have had an impact on state and local politics. Now they turn their attention to the 2012 presidential election.

Read about their views and then comment.

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