Sunday Solutions – April 29, 2023
Changing words in educator materials, changes at Georgia’s oldest HBCU, a look at changes for the tax code, and a legal view of how the mifepristone fight could change our prescription medicines. And there’s more…
Removing diversity from teacher training
Two weeks ago, Georgia state government — and some local districts — were focused on literacy and the best training for teachers to help reach children earlier and raise reading scores in early grades. This past week, the Georgia Professional Standards Commission was considering changes to preparation training guidelines that would eliminate the words such as diversity, equity and inclusiveness, all in the goal of eliminating distractions for education preparation, said the states educator preparation division director. Examples include: “diverse” would become “different” and “inclusive” would be replaced by “welcoming.” A former Georgia Teacher of the Year says it’s a sign that politics has entered educational programming. Ross Williams at Georgia Recorder breaks down the proposal and gives direct examples from the curriculum and links to the full documents..
Savannah State: New leader, more challenges
It’s been more than exam week at Savannah State University, Georgia’s oldest Historically Black College or University. On Monday, the University System of Georgia opened a fact-finding effort after faculty gave David Marshall, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences a vote of No Confidence. On Thursday, the institution’s president for 4 years, Kimberly Ballard-Washington, announced she’d step down at the end of the fiscal year. Friday, the university was hit with layoffs and promises of other budget cuts due to declining enrollment. Later that day an interim president, Cynthia Robinson Anderson, was named. Robinson serves as USG’s associate vice chancellor for finance. She leads the Board of Regents’ management of all alternative financing transactions including the system’s $2.7 billion public-private venture portfolio.
Report deconstructs the Fair Tax plan
For years, Coastal Georgia’s U.S. Rep. Earl L. “Buddy” Carter has been the champion for a change in the way we pay taxes. In recent months, he’s been even more visible, pushing the “Fair Tax,” a flat consumption tax in lieu of the tax code we now use. It’s hard to find an objective voice on the topic, but we’ve been looking. The Brookings Institution, a nonprofit organization known for its thorough research on public policy topics, released this in-depth report last week. The intro provides some history and some explanations and a summary. If you click through to the full report, you can see how the experts dissected the proposals to arrive at their conclusions and their suggestions for what it might take for it to cover what the current plan covers. Spoiler: It will take a whole lot more than a 23% cited flat tax (actual markup on items would be closer to 30%). Certainly, we all need to think about how our tax dollars are used and collected, as well as who is spending them, as we watch Congress stew over the next crucial debt-limit vote.
In memoriam: Larry “Gator” Rivers
Chatham County Commissioner Larry “Gator” Rivers, 73, died Saturday. He’d served commission District 2 since 2021. The A.E. Beach High School grad and standout basketball player attended Moberly Area (Missouri) Junior College and Missouri Western State University before joining the Harlem Globetrotters for 13 years as “the world’s greatest ball handler.” In retirement, he was well-known for his work with youth programs throughout Coastal Georgia.
- Tax credit discussions sink music industry plan: A popular proposal to renew tax credits and create a state office for the industry dropped off the radar in the 2023 legislature. Here’s what it means to a state steeped in music innovation plus a deep cultural heritage.
- Making health choices gets harder: The Covid health emergency is officially over, but the threat for millions who are immunocompromised or more vulnerable to Covid still must be very careful. And if you are a diabetic, obese or have breathing problems, you no longer have reliable data to help you decide whether you should travel or go visit a grandchild. The mandates for labs and other collection points of Covid data have expired.
- Meals on Wheels as climate-relief model: The service known by many for delivering meals to seniors and those who have mobility challenges could be one of the best ways to identify people who are affected by climate disasters like heat waves, flooding and hard freezes. Can cities and counties work with services like Meals on Wheels to identify and help vulnerable people faster? It’s a possible solution being tested now in Oregon.
Interns on the way
Regular readers will know that at The Current, summer brings interns and journalism fellows. One part of our mission here is to help the next generation of journalists get a great start in their career by practicing their skills and receiving coaching. We’re expecting 5 summer fellows soon. The students get college credit and we pay them for the work they do. We work with various programs for matching funds to do this. If you’d like to contribute, click the yellow button below or go here. Thanks!
Your second cup: Prescription drugs, process
The recent lawsuit regarding the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval of mifepristone, a drug that can be used as part of a medication abortion, puts the agency’s work in the spotlight. Many fear that a ruling could jeopardize the entire regulation and approval process for prescription drugs. Here’s an explainer on the FDA processes, some history and a look at what a ruling for the plaintiffs could mean for the entire system.
Georgia K-12 panel could soon erase ‘woke’ words like ‘diverse’ from training rules
Georgia Professional Standards Commission will consider changes to the rules for Georgia educator preparation that eliminate words associated with so-called ‘wokeness’, like diversity, equity and inclusiveness.
Push to grow Georgia music industry fizzles under Gold Dome
The House Creative Arts & Entertainment Committee approved the measure to create a statewide music office. But it failed to reach the House floor for a vote, while the tax incentives bill didn’t even get a committee vote.
As federal emergency declaration expires, picture of pandemic grows fuzzier
Some shared data requirements will end and the federal government will lose access to key metrics as a skeptical Congress seems unlikely to grant agencies additional powers.
Meals on Wheels becomes climate-relief model
Services which touch vulnerable people each day can hasten response to emergencies because the knowledge is already in place.
Challenging FDA authority isn’t new – agency history shows what’s at stake when drug regulation is in limbo
Due in part to FDA involvement, public health interventions have led to a 62% increase in life expectancy in the 20th century. These include vaccines and medications for childhood illnesses and infectious diseases such as HIV, increased regulation of tobacco, and over-the-counter Narcan to combat the opioid crisis, among others.
Horses of Cumberland file suit
The 140-170 feral horses on Cumberland Island need to be removed, a lawsuit demands.
Georgia issues a few medical cannabis licenses at last, giving patients access ‘very soon’
Once the facilities open, registered patients or their caregivers can check the commission’s website to verify their licenses. To get their medicine, they will need to bring their Department of Public Health-issued patient registry cards along with a photo ID.
Bald eagle losses, more sea turtles net B grade for coastal ecosystem
Four indexes were used to determine the score: sea turtle health (which includes nesting and hatching), bird health (bald eagles, wood storks and American oystercatchers), aquatic life (shrimp, red drum and blue crabs) and water quality (dissolved oxygen, fecal coliform and enterococcus).
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