Monthly Archives: December 2010

Education agenda in Missouri

Sen. David Pearce (R-Warrensburg) has pre-filed several education bills in the state legislature. The Daily Star-Journal reports, via John Combest.

SB12 tailors the foundation formula to deal with current revenue challenges.

SB13 charges the joint education committee to oversee a task force on teacher compensation and effectiveness.

SB14 instructs DESE to clarify the transfer rights of students in unaccredited districts.

Commenting on the task force, Pearce signaled interest in more closely tying teacher evaluations to student achievement. The assessment could facilitate performance pay agreements between teachers and districts. For example, a teacher could choose to forsake tenure in exchange for earned bonuses.

MNEA legislative director Otto Fajen claimed to welcome the study, before  disparaging its idea for a “pay scheme” as invalid and unviable. The  knowledgeable – but ever gloomy and predictable – Fajen was good for a colorful quote, however:

“Teachers are already doing the best they know how and… what they really do not need is for someone to tell them, ‘If you were thinking more about money, you would do a better job.’ Does that make sense? They’re lucky to have time to pee during the school day.” (emphasis added)

I noticed among the pre-filings that Sen. Robin Wright-Jones (D-St. Louis) has introduced SB20 and SB21 to expand compulsory attendance in the city of St. Louis to kids age five (or four, depending on birthday) through eighteen. Sen. Jane Cunningham (R-Chesterfield) has filed SB51, requiring public libraries to avoid making obscene materials available to minors.

Will try to take a look tomorrow at any pre-filed education measures in the House – I know Rep. Sara Lampe (D-Springfield) has one on autism, but there may be more.


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Filed under Education, Missouri Politics

Pence watch

The Wall Street Journal notes the rising stature of Rep. Mike Pence (R-Indiana). He may have the ability to unite and excite the party, but will he run for president, or stay in Indiana to bid for the governorship? He intends to announce a decision early next year.

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Filed under General & Miscellaneous

Feminism, explained

This Christmas, give the gift of laughter as you pass on this video to friends and family – and maybe even that feminist in your life.

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Right to Work in Missouri?

Also – an interesting letter in the St. Louis Beacon. Writing in from Sen. Kit Bond‘s home town of Mexico, Bruce Hillis refutes as myth the notion that promoting “Right to Work” hurt Missouri Republicans in 1978. Bond called the efforts a disaster for the party in a recent interview with the newspaper.

Since the midterms there’s been some chatter about pushing Right to Work. With a veto-proof Senate (26-8) and nearly veto-proof House (105-58) it’s a natural cause to consider.  Nixon will certainly veto RTW, so looking at the override attempt the question is whether enough Democrats would be on board to make up for any Republican defections.

Without looking carefully at each of the incoming house caucuses, my guess is that is a pretty tough bet. But who knows.

In his letter, Hillis notes that Republicans lost only five state legislative seats in 1978. For state level, statewide offices I’m not sure how it went, but nationally Republicans picked up congressional seats while in Missouri the state’s congressional delegation stayed the same (Democrats maintained an 8-2 edge in House seats, and no Senate seats were up).

So maybe Bond, et al were thinking it could have been a better year in Missouri given the national tide. Of course, he had also lost his 1976 gubernatorial re-election bid and perhaps did not relish the state party taking on a controversial issue in the run-up to his comeback in 1980.

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Tax talk continues…

Lower income taxes on individual and corporate earnings boost economies and improve living standards, suggests a Show-Me Institute op-ed published in the St. Louis Beacon. States taxing personal income at a lower rate and spending less per capita are growing in population, while those in relative decline tax and spend more heavily using these measurements.

Thanks to SMI, its supporters and like-minded thinkers I think we can expect to see continued and increasing discussion surrounding taxation in Missouri. The most recent cycle and e-tax reform may just have been the beginning. Fifty federated states a laboratory of democracy makes – the census results come at an opportune time for such discussion.

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Filed under Economy, Missouri Politics

Major house-cleaning…

for Principally Political today. Have re-organized (and removed many of) the links, have added to or updated all the site pages. Hope to return to regular posting very soon….

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Assange unweaves a world wide web

Al Capone didn’t pay taxes, and Julian Assange – apparently – didn’t wear a condom. Both were public enemies and perhaps controversial heroes to a few. They may share the fate of avoiding the wrap they deserved, but earning another in the end. The contrast of the two characters is a good illustration of how the times have changed.

Capone ran an underground empire of liquor, gambling, prostitution and other rackets and was targeted by city cops and the feds. Assange operates on the net to throw geopolitics into tumult, and is now held by one country, openly wanted by another and perhaps not so openly by others.

Assange shows that one rogue on the net can damage our diplomatic efforts and potentially disrupt worldwide political security. The web may the most important and vulnerable shared societal space in the world. Its freedom and safety promise continued dynamism and interconnectivity.

Its ever-increasing vitality to our economic and political infrastructure means that its influence and its openness are not without the risks that we take for granted in the real – as opposed to virtual – worlds. In fifty years, we may look back and see this as one of the first major incidences which brought that reality into view.

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Filed under Crime, National Security