The moral imperative for educational policy

It has been two years since the administration’s Race to the Top education competition was implemented, and scholars, advocates, practitioners and journalists are asking whether the program has been effective. From my perspective, this is the wrong question. We must instead determine whether a contest that provides support to some but not others is sufficient for addressing the structural inequities that make separate and unequal education a persistent fact of life in America today.

Race to the Top and other competitive grant programs are essentially designed to help those who can run, but our nation must be committed to lift from the bottom in order to provide equal, high-quality education for all children everywhere. Our present education policy does not meet this moral imperative.

I was extremely uncomfortable last year when it was announced that Rhode Island had ‘won’ a substantial financial award in the Race to the Top Program…

The Jesse Jackson Opinion Piece

North Carolina Legislates a New Dark Ages

Most debates about climate change have an abstract quality, in part because they tend to be about the whole world and deal with collective action that seems increasingly remote. But go down to the local level, and the climate issue becomes alarmingly concrete. Among the first to feel the impact of climate change will be coastal communities, which will have to put in place practical policies to deal with rising seas, more intense storms, and more frequent floods. Otherwise, a lot of homes, businesses and infrastructure will be damaged or destroyed, and people will die. Just ask the folks in New Orleans gearing up for another hurricane season.

But if you live in North Carolina, whose delicate barrier islands protect extensive lowlands vulnerable to both hurricane storm surges and flooding from heavy rains, think again. The state legislature is in the process of deciding not merely to ignore climate change, but to make it illegal.

The Forbes Article

U.S. economy heading straight for the cliff

Washington (CNN) — You do not have to be an investor in the stock market or real estate or looking for a job to be alarmed when several highly regarded observers warn that the United States economy is about to be driven “off the cliff” by increasing debt, the expiration of tax cuts and the prospect of deep spending cuts.

The alarm should concern anyone who cares about our democratic system.

The reason we are getting awfully close to the edge is because the Democrats and Republicans are inclined to pull the steering wheel in opposite directions. Granted, alarms are often sounded, but as we shall see shortly, this time there are strong reasons to fear that our gridlocked political system will prevent us from responding before we go over the edge.

The most authoritative voice speaking out this time is that of Ben Bernanke, the chairman of the Federal Reserve. He stated recently that, “It is very important to say that if no action were to be taken by the fiscal authorities, the size of the fiscal cliff is such that there is, I think, absolutely no chance that the Federal Reserve could or would have any ability whatsoever to offset that effect on the economy.”

The Article

Environmental Finance

Bunge, the agri-business ‘giant’, recently acquired Climate Change Capital…leading to a change in focus toward ‘impact investing’.

I always end up confused…particularly when they talk of CCC holding $1.4 B in ‘committments’. I know what they mean by committments, but I do not know (and they do not explain) how that translates to Company balance sheet.

Big numbers…impact investing….does this make sense?

The Article