A Florida Senior Citizen proves to be wiser than all the government employees on the payroll...
There recently was an article in the St. Petersburg Times. The Business Section asked readers for ideas on: “How Would You Fix the Economy?” I think this guy nailed it!
Dear Mr. President,
Please find below my suggestion for fixing America’s economy. Instead of giving billions of dollars to companies that will squander the money on lavish parties and unearned bonuses, use the following plan.
You can call it the “Patriotic Retirement Plan”:
There are about 40 million people over 50 in the work force. Pay them $1 million apiece severance for early retirement with the following stipulations:
1) They MUST retire. Forty million job openings - Unemployment fixed.
2) They MUST buy a new AMERICAN Car. Forty million cars ordered - Auto Industry fixed.
3) They MUST either buy a house or pay off their mortgage - Housing Crisis fixed.
It can’t get any easier than that!!
P.S. If more money is needed, have all members in Congress pay their taxes…
Mr. President, while you’re at it, make Congress retire on Social Security and Medicare. I’ll bet both programs would be fixed pronto!
Tebow Fuels Doubters and Supporters
Following article is from Gary Shelton of the St. Pete Times. He notes that Tim Tebow’s play adds support to his doubters and his supporters. Here is the link: http://www.tampabay.com/sports/football/bucs/denver-broncos-quarterback-tim-tebow-gives-fuel-to-both-doubters-and/1198239
St. Pete Times editorial: Lab leaves, taking jobs with it
Jackson Laboratory’s abrupt exit from Florida this month illustrates how Tallahassee’s shortsighted fiscal policy undermines the state’s future. Eight years after Gov. Jeb Bush started Florida on an aggressive path to wooing the biotech research industry, Gov. Rick Scott and other state leaders are abandoning that strategy. Scott claims to be all about attracting jobs to Florida. That should include nascent industries as well as traditional ones.
For two years, the nonprofit Jackson Lab has said it wanted to join Florida’s fledgling biotech community by opening a facility to complement its Maine operations developing mice populations for gene-based disease research. It partnered with the University of South Florida on a plan and in 2010 persuaded the Legislature to set aside $50 million to start the project in Collier County. Then this past fall, amid the election’s tea party fervor, the community balked at coming up with its own matching funds.
Jackson Lab downscaled its request from a total of $260 million in state and local government funds over several years to $200 million. It found an enthusiastic new partner in Sarasota County. But Scott, fresh in office, stayed on the sidelines. Then the 2011-12 budget contained so little economic development money that Enterprise Florida, the state’s economic development agency, told Jackson Lab to dramatically reduce its request. At that point, the lab got the message and gave up.
It’s possible the Jackson deal was not the best one for taxpayers and that the jobs promised wouldn’t warrant the extraordinary taxpayer investment. Hillsborough County claimed as much earlier this year when it declined to compete against Sarasota. But that was never the discussion in Tallahassee. Rather, faced with a daunting budget gap and an unwillingness to consider any new sources of revenue to further the state’s long-term ambitions, Florida’s Republican leadership never even attempted to court Jackson Lab. There was no discussion about the implications of retreating on nearly a decade of economic development investment in biotech research.
Most surprising is that Scott — who frequently boasts he spends time every day talking to out-of-state businesses to come to Florida to create jobs — never reached out to Jackson Lab leaders to see if something might be worked out during these tight fiscal times. Compare that to Bush, who pushed through an audacious $310 million in state money to woo Scripps Research Institute to Palm Beach County in 2003, and went on to attract three more impressive biomedical research firms, including SRI International, to St. Petersburg’s downtown waterfront. Gov. Charlie Crist attracted two more, including Charles Stark Draper Laboratory to Tampa Bay.
By contrast, Scott’s most concrete economic development plan thus far is his unrealistic goal to make Florida the “shipping capital of the East Coast” by investing in the state’s 14 ports. Port investment does make some sense, but a governor who claims to be all about business ought to be able to simultaneously juggle revitalizing traditional industries and boosting new ones
Scott's textbook case of myopia: Three bureaucrats will now review school materials
By Bill Maxwell, Times Correspondent
In Print: Sunday, May 29, 2011
When Gov. Rick Scott signed the state budget into law last week at the Villages retirement community, he virtually removed the concept of “public” from the process of adopting textbooks and other instructional materials for Florida’s public schools.
Tucked away in SB 2120 is a Republican-sponsored measure that kills the decades-old method of using statewide committees of administrators, school board members, teachers and other Floridians to select textbooks. Despite what critics say, this process is democratic, bringing together diverse views and different levels of knowledge that enrich learning.
In addition to eliminating the lay committees, SB 2120 requires schools to adopt digital textbooks by the 2015-16 school year and spend 50 percent of their textbook budget on digital materials.
With the stroke of the governor’s pen, Florida now has a Texas-style textbook adoption process. The commissioner of education, who is appointed by the governor, has been handed control of which textbooks and other materials will be used. The commissioner selects three state or national bureaucrats, called “subject matter experts,” who will serve as the review committee. Two of the experts will review books, and the third will act as a tiebreaker. School districts then are free to appoint a district curriculum specialist or one classroom teacher to review some of the books and materials recommended by the experts.
Exactly what motivated GOP lawmakers to push for this drastic change? Department of Education officials argue that the bill will save Florida money by transferring responsibility for textbook reviews from a network of statewide committees, involving travel and hiring substitute teachers, to a three-person team. And although many committees had begun to meet online to save time and money, officials said the department is having difficulty finding enough volunteers for the labor-intensive task.
Several current and former volunteers from around the state told me they enjoyed the work because they met other volunteers and shared and ideas and experiences. They believe their contributions are important to the state’s children.
“In my opinion there is no real need to change the adoption process,” said April Griffin, a member of the Hillsborough County School Board and a former textbook adoption committee member. “The use of a more broad-based selection group that includes practitioners, specialists, school board members and community members has not resulted in the selection of poor-quality materials. I worry that this new legislation will take away checks and balances that keep the focus on student achievement, and it has the potential to allow political agendas to play a more active role in the process.
“I know the number of hours I personally dedicated to the process. I do not see how it is possible that a few people can accurately screen and select the materials given time limitations. I also do not know how it is possible that a few people can have absolute expertise in every course offered in the K-12 public school system.”
Like many others who have served on adoption committees, Griffin also worries that the new centralized system will face the same problems that Texas faces, including perpetual charges of political corruption, publishers’ favoritism and religious influence.
As a result of such problems, cultural battles stay in the headlines, all at a high cost to children’s education. Which version of the human narrative should be in textbooks, creation or evolution? What about the history of black slavery and its significance? How far should textbooks go in discussing Islam and other non-Christian religions? Which books teach math the “acceptable” way? Which books teach reading “correctly”? Who should decide? Which publishers should profit?
These matters are so important that the process for deciding them should not be left to whims of three appointed, ideologically driven bureaucrats.
As for the mandate that Florida schools adopt digital textbooks by the 2015-16 school year, Griffin and many others who have served on textbook committees think the state has no choice but to embrace the future. Change is inevitable.
“The reality is that we should migrate to electronic instructional materials,” Griffin said. “The technology and learning styles of today’s students demand we go there.”
Still, the concern is that while the centralization of the review and adoption process may enrich select publishers and their agents and perhaps even save the state money, public education in Florida may not improve significantly.
In an e-mail, Griffin aptly sums up what will be lost: “Centralization of decisionmaking … can be viewed as a step backward. The process of using a broader base of those participating in the adoption process has helped bolster credibility and support for the materials and the process.”
“Johnathan, 18 now, is tall and thin. He spikes his short, black hair with gel. His pale, heart-shaped face seems too heavy for his wiry neck, and his head seems to list forward. His eyes often scan the ground.”
— Lane DeGregory, “Fight, fight, fight,” St. Petersburg Times