Archive for April, 2012

5/1: The 50-50 split

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

It’s a contentious point in the tug of war between MARTA and Georgia legislators: the state mandate that the transportation agency spend half of its revenue from taxes on maintenance and capital projects and half on operations.

Oversight through “the 50-50 split” is crucial, the state contends. MARTA says that it’s restrictive and hopes to see it go away. What do you think?

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4/30: College decisions; teaching to the test

Moderated by Maureen Downey

On the eve of the deadline for college decisions, three educators write that high school students should just as seriously consider the challenge of getting the best out of college as they did the challenge of getting into the best college.

In another guest column, a director of undergraduate studies at Georgia State University considers the question: Why not just teach to the test? Finally, on our Get Schooled blog, more than 100 parents recently commented on escalating prom costs.

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4/29: Measuring graduation rates

By the AJC Editorial Board

Under a new, national measurement tool for graduation rates, Georgia’s numbers are shocking in the short-term — dropping from 81 percent to 67 percent — but they reinforce that we need to keep pushing.

There’s value in the 50 states measuring graduation rates using a common formula — a move that had been recommended by the National Governors Association. Doing so will help Georgians more accurately assess how we’re doing in comparison to other states.

Read the rest of what the AJC Editorial Board has to say, along with commentary by state school superintendent John Barge and former Atlanta mayor Shirley Franklin. Then tell us what you think.

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4/27: Practicing ‘defensive medicine’?

Moderated by Tom Sabulis
Ever felt as if your doctor was sending you for yet another test merely to inflate your bill or minimize his or her liability?

The practice of “defensive medicine” — ordering “unnecessary” procedures for patients — has come under scrutiny due to the rising cost of health care. Today, two local doctors tackle the issue.

Read what Dr. Sam Kini and Dr. Kelly B. Thrasher have to say. Then tell us what you think.

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4/26: End the death penalty?

Moderated by Rick Badie

The United States is one of the few industrialized nations that uses capital punishment to deter crime. Georgia, one of 34 death-penalty states, uses lethal injection to execute.

Today, former President Jimmy Carter writes it’s time to end the practice for reasons that include a change in public opinion, prosecutorial costs, and socioeconomic and racial bias. A death penalty proponent argues that an executed murderer never murders again.

What do you think?

And here is more information on the death penalty

In 1972, the U.S. Supreme Court voided 40 death penalty statutes and suspended the death penalty.

Four years later, capital punishment was reinstated and a 10-year moratorium on executions ended with the execution of Gary Gilmore by a firing squad in Utah.

Since reinstatement, nearly 1,300 executions have been carried out.

Georgia’s current death row population sits at 99 and includes one woman. Its method of execution is lethal …

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4/25: Energy policy and gas prices

Moderated by Rick Badie

The price of gas would be noticeably cheaper if the United States tapped its onshore and offshore oil reserves, write Congressmen Lynn Westmoreland and Tom Price. They say President Barack Obama’s energy policies reinforce U.S. reliance on foreign oil.

Meanwhile, Congressman Henry A. Waxman says the country has more oil and gas drilling operations than the rest of the world combined, proof positive the president supports domestic oil production.

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4/24: Reauthorize Export-Import bank?

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

Behind rising transportation costs, a battle is being waged over the reauthorization of the Export-Import bank, a federal agency that provides lines of credit to foreign buyers to purchase American products.

Some homegrown companies, such as Delta Air Lines, charge that it creates an uneven playing field. Others say it actually protects American workers.

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4/23: Digital education; good news

Moderated by Maureen Downey

Anyone starving for good news in education ought to read today’s guest column about the state’s incredible STAR students, who, along with their teacher mentors, are being honored tonight.

In my weekly column, I write about digital education and whether schools are moving too quickly or slowly into this new era of learning.

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4/22: Getting on track?

By the AJC Editorial Board

A metro Atlanta transit governance deal is overdue. So ARC’s move to seek legal advice to allow local transit agencies to better work together offers hope.

You’d think in these times of calls for smaller government, zero-basing public agency budgets and the like that the businesslike concept of spending public transit money more effectively would be an easy sell.

Not so, as proved by the continuing travail over deciding just how to improve coordination of Atlanta’s multiple transit systems.

That situation may soon change for the better, at least somewhat. In an encouraging show of unity by local officials, the Atlanta Regional Commission’s board recently voted unanimously to seek legal advice on just what more can be done locally to push forward on working more closely on transit matters. The board’s action is a refreshing sign of unity by metro Atlanta’s leaders in acting to help reduce the congestion that affects us all, no matter where …

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4/20: ‘Fetal pain’ bill debate continues

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

The “fetal pain bill” passed by the General Assembly awaits Gov. Nathan Deal’s signature. But that hasn’t stopped the debate over the proposed law, which would restrict abortion after 20 weeks.

A local doctor suggests the law may in effect make abortions safer for women and cites data to back it up.

On the other side, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood in Atlanta writes that the law is just the next step in Georgia’s march to further restrict women’s rights when it comes to abortion.

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