Sunday, April 15, 2007

Post of Plenty

I had three completely unrelated ideas I wanted to post on this morning, so rather than flood the blog with posts, I decided to post once with a brief comment on each. First, I want to weigh in on the Imus controversy. Primarily I wanted to show the group Meet the Press from April 15 (direct link to transcript was unavailable at time of post). Gwen Ifill and David Brooks, two people I respect immensely as journalists (even though Ifill's delivery is typically more fit for print), act like they don't even want to speak to each other at the end of the discussion.

Next, page 2 of the Kansas City Star, noted that there is a growing group of academics who wish to rebuild the internet. The basic challenge facing this project is "balancing the interests of various constituencies" namely, the public, the providers and business. The main programs:

Stanford program

Carnegie Mellon program

Rutgers program

National Science Foundation's GENI program

Finally, the Kansas City Star also speculated upon the possible demise of No Child Left Behind, the education legislation mandating increased testing of students. Apparently much of the Republican support for the bill in 2001 has melted away. Sam Brownback and Roy Blunt have stated support for a clause allowing states to opt of federally mandating testing. Unfortunately, the demise is not a certainty because Ted Kennedy is among other high ranking Democrats in stating his opposition that repealing the initiative would "turn back the clock on reform". My family's problem with the law has always been consistent: there is no accountability for the primary entities, the students. Students are neither rewarded nor penalized for their scores. The schools and districts are the only entities being held accountable.

Up for debate, a fix for the NCLB initiative I have devised (though I will not claim that it has not been produced before, only that the thought came to me this morning over waffles through no prior research on the concept). Give tax credits to families whose students perform at 'proficient' or 'exemplary'. This avoids direct bribing of students but advances the idea that students that come from high achieving and involved families should be rewarded. There can be a strict state standard, or a sliding scale based off of income. The primary point is that families are not rewarded solely for producing children (current child tax credit), but are rewarded for having children who achieve at high levels (have a greater propensity to produce towards the greater good).