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Archive for February, 2014

The debate over whether programs such as Head Start are beneficial to young children has been going on for a long time. Some believe universal pre-K programs like Head Start give students an advantage over non pre-K educated children academically. Others maintain that either there is no benefit to universal pre-K, or any advantages gained will eventually be gone within a few short years.

CRI’s Jim Hosley wrote an article this week on this very issue. He changes the focus though from whether pre-K can help children and families (it does, at least to an extent), but on HOW those programs should be run and who should be in control. Delaware and Florida are two states with two different views on pre-K. Delaware has chosen to let the state DOE manage everything; the result has been that since 1994 when the new programs started, Delaware has actually gone backwards in enrolled children, because the state spent too much money improperly on the programs for minimal results, and then in recent years was forced to cut spending for pre-K as the economy worsened. Florida opted to turn over pre-K programs to the county level, and block granted spending to the counties to run a pre-K program based on what the county’s needs were. The results from a study of Florida’s pre-K program showed Florida was #1 nationally in pre-K enrollment, but was 35th in spending on pre-K, due to smarter spending decisions and more local control of programs.

Given Florida’s size, making decisions from Tallahassee would have been a burden to many counties hundreds of miles away. Delaware may be much smaller, but why not try this idea? Why not have New Castle County or the city of Wilmington manage their own pre-K program, and be responsible for it? At least it would be their program and parents and teachers could be more readily involved than with educrats in Dover.

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Earlier this week Secretary of State John Kerry took it upon himself to criticize “shoddy scientists” and “extreme ideologues” who are denying the “unequivocal science” and “[T]hose who refuse to believe it are simply burying their heads in the sand. We don’t have time for a meeting anywhere of the Flat Earth Society.”
 
Some of these “shoddy scientists” include the former state climatologist David Legates and Smithsonian astrophysicist Willie Soon (video presentations of there science can be seen HERE and HERE. Both have earned their credentials in the field, yet if they deny the “settled science” in any manner as determined by Secretary Kerry then they are “ideologues” and must be silenced. If groups like CRI say the science is being misused to advance a political agenda, we are “the fringe”. Yet somehow this “fringe” contains nearly half of the US adult population-at least of those registered to vote who do not believe the government needs to expand its power to keep us safe from ourselves.
Click HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE to see scientific information from CRI on this issue. In the case of Delaware, we see the same verbal grenades as those lobbed by Senator Kerry, from our own Governor and DNREC Secretary Colin O’Mara. Gov. Markell issued an executive order last year requiring all state agencies to consider Sea Level Rise when planning or developing any projects. DNREC is going further and is prepared to issue its on regulations on SLR, mainly to discourage, or even redo, development along the ocean from Lewes down to Fenwick Island, and even inland past the bays. All three counties will suffer property value loss if/when DNREC goes ahead with the recommendations of its own committee and requires property owners in the “flood zones” to purchase their own flood insurance and label their properties as being in a flood zone, which will drive their value down. This is not a coincidence; in the mind of O’Mara he is merely using “science” to “protect you” from your own bad decision. 
The reality is Delaware IS going to suffer some SLR. This is because the state is sinking into the ocean and Delaware Bay due to natural erosion processes  and someday parts or all of Delaware’s beaches may be underwater, and new beaches in other locations will replaces them . But no government regulations on your behavior or new taxes on your production will “save” you from natural erosion. Dr. Legates, who has studied this issue, recommends the state build sand dunes to prevent erosion of the soil near population areas.
The environment is complex and it is something which matters to all of us. But for  Secretary Kerry, Governor Markell, and Sec. O’mara to denigrate anyone who disagrees with their opinion is foolish, especially since they are misguided on this issue.

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This week many people will be snowed in for Valentines Day (stay safe on the roads!), but we at CRI are pleased to announce our new Director of the Center for Economic Policy & Analysis (CEPA), Dr. Stacie Beck.

You can visit our website link at www.caesarrodney.org or click on “our staff” in the “About” section on the top right of the page to view Dr. Beck’s complete bio. Dr. John Stapleford, currently a member of the advisory council, left his position as CEPA director in October. Dr. Beck will be responsible for continuing CRI’s economic policy & analysis work and keeping you up to date on the most recent and relevant studies of Delaware’s economic policies. Dr. Beck will be quite busy: with the potential for a 10 cents per gallon gas tax increase, revenue from the casinos drying up and a new revenue stream needed, and the prevailing wage law still in place, CRI will be busy advocating for policies which benefit Delawareans and keep the size of state government in check.

 

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