Archive for March, 2012

4/1: Shred school falsehoods

By the AJC Editorial Board

“We trust the media and public will focus on the main findings of the report that there is no orchestrated cheating in Atlanta Public Schools.”

— Beverly Hall, August 2010, summing up an investigation solicited by the district.

Atlantans know what came next, after truth’s chisel crumbled walls of denial.

Scores of communities from Maine to California may find themselves enduring a similarly traumatic experience, based on The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s “Cheating our children” series, which found that test scores in nearly 200 school districts resemble those that drew Atlanta into the biggest cheating scandal in American history.

Thus, national attention has once again turned toward Atlanta. Unlike when the cheating scandal first surfaced, Atlanta can now provide an instructive example of how to address a civic tragedy.

Read the rest of what the AJC editorial board has to say, along with commentary by Leslie Hiner, vice president of the …

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3/30: Video-gaming complex?

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

Developer Dan O’Leary says his proposed $1 billion video-gaming complex near Norcross will raise an estimated $350 million annually for the HOPE scholarship through the Georgia Lottery. O’Leary’s comments to the AJC’s editorial board this week are highlighted at this link.

A family group opposed to the idea of expanded gambling at the casino-like facility responds.

What do you think?

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3/29: Ethics-report debate

Moderated by Rick Badie

If a teen earned this grade, he’d probably lose cellphone and iPod privileges. Might get grounded, too.

Georgia received an F because it’s a high-risk state for government corruption, according to an investigation by the Center for Public Integrity.

Today, a former ethics enforcer questions the study’s methodology while an ethics-reform proponent says Georgia deserved the grade.

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3/28: Cash mobs help retailers

Moderated by Rick Badie

They show up at designated businesses at predetermined hours, ready to shop. They are cash mobbers, volunteers in a social networking trend supporting independent retailers. Think flash mob, only these participants don’t sing and dance.

Today, a local organizer talks about Cash Mob Atlanta, and I chat with a business owner whose store was recently “mobbed.”

What do you think of the idea?

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3/27: Complete streets for all

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

Caution: Bicycling blog ahead.

Common sense seems to have won out this legislative session when a Georgia senator and a bicycling advocacy group got together over a proposed bill that would have outlawed two-abreast riding.

Cycling groups also are trumpeting the sales-tax referendum July 31 because some of the projects it will fund increase bicycle safety. We devote the bottom of the page to readers and bloggers who comment on the pitfalls of cycling around metro Atlanta.

What do you think?

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3/26: Computer-based learning

Moderated by Maureen Downey

It seems everyone has a game plan on how to improve education, and today we explore several ideas. An outstanding DeKalb graduate points to more engaged students as the key to enhancing education. And I examine the growing sentiment that schools should step outside the box — or should I say step into the box — and consider the possibilities offered by computer-based or virtual learning.

What do you think?

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3/25: Transportation referendum and jobs

By the AJC Editorial Board

Much of the hissing and spitting that passes for civic debate in this age orbits around cries of “job-killing” this or “job-creating” that. Which provides an interesting lens through which to view the upcoming regional transportation referendum.

We suggest that opponents of the Transportation Investment Act penny sales tax listen to a new advertising blitz with something close to an open mind.

Critics also owe it to themselves and their communities, in our view, to examine the sponsor list for the expected $8 million campaign of choir-preaching that points out yet again our epic mobility problems and the need to start addressing them.

Read the rest of what the AJC Editorial Board has to say. Then read another view by Fayette County Commissioner Steve Brown and tell us what you think.

Businesspeople know competition grows jobs, so they recognize the risk of letting metro Atlantans stew in gridlock while competing regions gain ground.

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3/23: New health bill proposed

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

A new health bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives calls for Medicaid and children’s health insurance allotments to be sent back to the states in the form of block grants.

A Georgia congressman speaks to the merits of the measure he co-sponsored, likening it to a safety net for the less fortunate, while a former health industry executive calls it a misguided attempt to control state and federal expenditures.

What do you think?

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3/21: A church of many voices

Moderated by Rick Badie

Love our neighbors, we’re told. For some metro Atlanta churches, that means opening their sanctuaries to ethnic groups so they can worship in their own language.

First Baptist Church of Lilburn lets 12 congregations use its campus free. Today, that church’s officials explain why they embrace diversity, and I chat with pastors whose congregations meet there.

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3/21: Summer jobs for teens

Moderated by Rick Badie

Looks like it’s going to be another bummer summer for Georgia’s job-seeking teens.

Employment prospects are expected to be dismal for 16- to 19-year-olds, according to a research fellow at the Employment Policies Institute.

Today, he explains our high teen jobless rate while a job specialist wonders if the nation’s youth-unemployment figures reflect a new normal.

What do you think?

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