From down in south Georgia, Sid Cottingham pointed us to this New York Times article, likely to become a topic of discussion during the upcoming charter school debate:
When the Georgia legislature passed a private school scholarship program in 2008, lawmakers promoted it as a way to give poor children the same education choices as the wealthy.
The program would be supported by donations to nonprofit scholarship groups, and Georgians who contributed would receive dollar-for-dollar tax credits, up to $2,500 a couple. The intent was that money otherwise due to the Georgia treasury — about $50 million a year — would be used instead to help needy students escape struggling public schools.
That was the idea, at least. But parents meeting at Gwinnett Christian Academy got a completely different story last year.
“A very small percentage of that money will be set aside for a needs-based scholarship fund,” Wyatt Bozeman, an administrator at the school near Atlanta, said during an informational session. “The rest of the money will be channeled to the family that raised it.”
In which case, the donation becomes a simple tax break for parents who send their kids to private school. There’s this paragraph, too:
While the scholarship programs have helped many children whose parents would have to scrimp or work several jobs to send them to private schools, the money has also been used to attract star football players, expand the payrolls of the nonprofit scholarship groups and spread the theology of creationism, interviews and documents show. Even some private school parents and administrators have questioned whether the programs are a charade.
We’re not done with the presidential primary yet – it’s the turn of Kentucky and Arkansas today.
The latter, thoroughly Republican state could hand President Barack Obama a West Virginia-like embarrassment. From ABC News:
In Arkansas, John Wolfe, an attorney from Tennessee, is on the ballot against President Obama. Obama’s approval ratings are low in Arkansas, and Wolfe could easily get a sizable percentage of the vote, potentially even pull off a victory (seems less likely.) Recent polling showed Wolfe close to Obama in the state.
But already, a discussion has begun on what the 2016 presidential primary should look like.
The current system was the result of a Republican-Democratic deal brokered by a Harvard group that met again last week. Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, co-chair of National Association of Secretaries of State committee on the presidential primaries, was there.
Kemp said he doesn’t expect many wholesale changes. “My personal opinion is that you’ll see a few tweaks,” he said.
The current primary calendar was intended to discourage frontloading. “That actually worked,” the Georgia secretary of state said. But the key will be whether the penalties for jumping the gun – the loss of half a state’s convention delegates – will be upheld against Florida, Arizona and Michigan.
“Watch whether everybody sticks to the rules in the loss of delegates,” he said.
Another factor unmentioned by Kemp: Much will depend on whether the 2016 incumbent in the White House is an exiting Democrat or a Republican in search of a second term.
Former GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, rejoining the debate on behalf of presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney, on Monday night tackled the mushy debate over Bain Capital in a CNN interview:
The weekend’s state GOP convention in Columbus continues to offer surprises. We can’t remember this being part of the public discussion – maybe it happened while we were fetching more popcorn – but delegates gave a formal round of applause to Karen Handel, the former gubernatorial rival to Nathan Deal:
Whereas, she was appointed Senior Vice President of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure charity in April 2011, upon which Karen Handel was made aware that the charity was a financial supporter of the pro-abortion group Planned Parenthood; and,
Whereas, she attempted to end this relationship in a way that was respectful to both organizations; and
Whereas, she chose to exit the Komen foundation while showing extreme grace……
Karen Handel wasn’t at the Columbus gathering. But her husband, Steve Handel, was there.
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed has put his name behind a 5:30 p.m. Thursday fundraiser for redistricted state Sen. Doug Stoner, D-Smyrna, at the Capital Grille.
The AJC’s Politifact Georgia today takes at whether a Sierra Club leader was correct when she said that Georgia has one of the lowest taxes on gasoline in the nation.
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider