Sunday, March 27, 2011

Independent Voter Roundup: Arizona, North Carolina, California, Virginia, New York and Then Some

  • Report backs idea of revamping primaries (by Channing Turner, Arizona Central) Arguments for reform persuaded Rep. Tom Chabin, D-Flagstaff, to author a resolution this legislative session that would haveallowed voters to decide whether Arizona should also adopt a single-ballot primary system, but the bill was never assigned to committee.
  • NC not responding well to new majority (Public Policy Polling) The key finding there is that independent voters, who gave GOP legislative candidates a 20 point advantage at the polls last year, now rate the new majority negatively by a 37/26 spread.
  • Dan Walters: Redistricting panel shows true colors of ideology (By Dan Walters, Sac Bee) The underlying stakes of redistricting were starkly evident in last week's maneuvering over the selection of advisers. The finalists for both contracts were seen by political insiders – and apparently by commissioners themselves – as having at least some political taint… Thus the overall tenor of the commission is definitely left-of-center -- no small irony given the right-of-center support for the ballot measures that created it.
  • Race and redistricting (EDITORIAL The Virginian-Pilot) Speakers at a public hearing this week in Norfolk raised a more provocative question: Can minority representation be increased by creating a second majority-minority congressional district or at least a new district with a black population of 40 percent or more?
  • Thousands Rally And March From City Hall To Wall Street (By James Lane, Hot Indie News [a lefty Green Party type online publication]) Oliver Gray, Associate Director of AFSCME District Council 37, whose members made up the largest part of the rally, said public sector workers will not allow the Governor to blame them for the so-called deficit. “How are we to blame,” he asked, “when the Governor wants to cut the taxes of the richest people in New York, and gives back to Wall Street investors $15 billion a year in stock transfer taxes?”… New York City Council member Charles Barron, who was the 2010 Freedom Party candidate for Governor of New York, contradicted Governor Cuomo and Mayor Bloomberg, who claim cuts are necessary because the state and city are “broke.” If the state is “broke,” he asked, why are taxes being cut for the richest 1 percent of the population, whose share of the state’s income has shot up to more than 35% from 10% since 1995. Their share of the city’s income is even higher, at 44%, he said.
  • 7 Essentials for Education Reform (Suzanne Tacheny KubachExecutive Director, Policy Innovators in Education (PIE) Network, Huffington Post) Over the past five years, education reform has gained enormous traction. A new generation of reform-minded policy makers has taken up the cause of transforming state school systems to prepare students for a dramatically changing economy, urged on by state-level advocacy groups who are playing a crucial role in advancing reform state by state. But while urgency has increased and many fresh faces have taken up the cause, the core ideas guiding education reform have remained remarkably stable, defying the ideological or partisan claims that can often stifle political change.
  • Fulani and Newman on America’s Education Crisis (Lois Holzman) “Here is an idea for solving the education crisis in America. What if all the kids currently failing in school pretended to be good learners? What if all the adults – teachers, principals, administrators, parents – played along and pretended that the kids were school achievers, heading for college? What if this national “ensemble” pretended this was the case day after day, classroom after classroom, school district after school district?” ----- So begins “Let’s Pretend,” a special report on “Solving the Education Crisis is America” written by Lenora Fulani and Fred Newman, co-founders of the All Stars Project (which released the report) and long-time friends, colleagues and mentors of mine. The three of us have written thousands of words (and spoken millions more) on play, performance, pretence, creative imitation and their critical role in learning and development for people of all ages, but especially for those whom schools have failed/who failed school. All of our words grow out of the complicated interplay of carrying out on-the-ground performance-based development work and dialoguing with scholars, practitioners and policy makers. In “Let’s Pretend,” Fulani and Newman  say it as they see it in a mere six pages. In the time it takes to make a cup of coffee you can read it and see if you see it their way or if they’ve helped you see in a new way.

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