Friday, October 22, 2010

Report: Economic school diversity works

The Public School Forum of North Carolina took note of a new report by the Century Foundation that gives thumbs up to economic school integration, the kind of plan that Wake County used until a new school board threw it out this year making some residents furious.
Here's some of what the Public School Forum had to say:
Last week the Century Foundation released a new report, “Housing Policy is School Policy”, which studied the benefits economic integration has had on low-income students in Montgomery County, Maryland. The study examines Montgomery County, Maryland, an affluent suburban county adjacent to Washington, D.C. In 1976, the county passed an inclusionary zoning law requiring new housing developments to include homes affordable for moderate means (subsidized homes) and to set aside one-third for the local public housing authority.
The study, by Century Foundation, examines seven years (2001-07) worth of longitudinal data for 850 Montgomery County students who live in the “set-aside public housing”. The report found that in math especially, low-income students attending more affluent schools performed well enough to narrow achievement gaps significantly. Achievement gaps in reading were narrowed as well, just not to same extent.
Similar in size to Wake County, Montgomery County (roughly 144,000 students) has been divided into high-performing, more affluent green zone and high-needs red zones. Even with red zones schools receiving nearly $2,000 more in per pupil spending than green zone schools, the low-income students in the Century study performed better in the green-zone schools.
Researchers see the results as especially significant as Montgomery, one of the nation’s largest schools districts has been uncommonly aggressive in seeking to improve the performance of students in schools with higher poverty. While most districts throughout the country now assign students to schools based only on where they live, a growing number of school districts (roughly 60) have in recent years been experimenting with strategies to promote economic diversity.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

McHenry one of Time's "40 under 40"

If you missed seeing Time magazine this week, you missed seeing North Carolina's 10th District Congressman Patrick McHenry get dubbed one of the "40 under 40 rising stars of American politics." It's Time's first list of this kind and includes an array of "civic leaders" across the political spectrum.

Among those on the list? Marco Rubio, whose running for the U.S. Senate in Florida; Ben Jealous, who heads the NAACP; George P. Bush, son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and the nephew and grandson of two President George Bushes; and Nikki Haley, who's running for governor of South Carolina.

Here's Time's blurb on McHenry:
A former state assemblyman and Labor Department aide, the Republican was elected to Congress from North Carolina in 2004 at 29. Now 34, he's focused on "restoring fiscal sanity" with deregulation and a balanced budget.

Who is your political hero/inspiration, and why? "Ronald Reagan. As a kid growing up in the 1980s, there was no one else."

What's your go-to political blog? "Drudge Report" - several times a day."

If you weren't working in politics, what would you be doing? "Real estate investing, perhaps teaching a college course, or maybe even a fulltime NASCAR fan."

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? "Husband, father, public servant. It'll take dedication, listening, focusing on what's important, and remaining true to my principles."

What's the most overlooked issue facing America? "We absolutely need to reform the Congressional budget-writing process. The issue of debts and deficits on our collective radar, but we need to help people understand how fixing the process will equal more economic opportunity, not more red ink."

Read more:,28804,2023831_2023829_2025206,00.html/lixzz12qLotj1U

Monday, October 4, 2010

Spratt among 100 who stand for children

A Washington-based bipartisan children's advocacy group has named its 100 most valuable members of Congress in improving the well-being of children. Carolinas representatives and senators are absent from the First Focus Campaign for Children list, with the exception of S.C. Rep. John Spratt.

The Campaign for Children said it "presses for policy changes to improve the well-being and protect the rights of the next generation of America’s leaders. Our advocacy is focused in the areas of child health, education, early childhood, family economics, child welfare, immigration, and child safety, in addition to tax and budget policies that lift children out of poverty. In all our advocacy, we seek to increase the federal investment in programs that support and protect our nation’s most precious resource, our children."

The group named 50 members of Congress as “Champions for Children” for what they called "their extraordinary efforts to protect and improve the future of America’s next generation." Another 50 were named “Defenders of Children,” recognized for their support of policies that advance the well-being of children.

Republican "champion" senators included Richard Lugar of Indiana and Susan Collins of Maine. Among Democrats were Robert Menendez of New Jersey and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana. Republican "champion" representatives included Vernon Ehlers of Michigan and Todd Platts of Pennsylvania. Among Democrats were Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas and Raul Grijalva of Arizona.

Among those named "defenders" were Republican senators Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Charles Grassley of Iowa. Among Democratic senators were Max Baucus of Montana and Barbara Boxer of California. GOP representatives included Mark Kirk of Illinois and Frank Wolf of Virginia. Democratic representatives include John Spratt of South Carolina and Steny Hoyer of Maryland.