Northland College to Host 7th Annual Wisconsin Local Food Summit on Feb. 1-2

ASHLAND, Wis. – Northland College will host the 7th Annual Wisconsin Local Food Summit Feb.1-2. The focus of the 2013 summit is “Common Ground: Everyone Eats!” The Wisconsin Local Food Network (WLFN) is sponsoring the event.

The Wisconsin Local Food Network chose the Chequamegon Bay region as the location for this year’s summit because of the area’s commitment to growing a local foods economy. Nathan Engstrom, regional sustainability coordinator at Northland College, will share information about its Local Foods Initiative. The initiative seeks to increase the presence of foods from growers in the Chequamegon Bay area on campus through a regional partnership.

“It’s great to come together and hear other people’s success stories, hear what challenges they’ve faced,” said Engstrom. “This is a particularly compelling moment for the summit because there’s a lot of good work happening in the Chequamegon Bay region and state where new farms are being launched and existing operations are expanding.”

Mary Pat Carlson is the executive director of Algoma, Wis., nonprofit The Farm Market Kitchen. She will present on food processing models being used by her group and others to enhance local foods systems.

“The ones that I provide the most assistance to are community-based or small-scale food processing facilities that have an impact on community-based economic development,” she said. “They tend to be shared facilities where a number of different food processors contract for time and services.”

The experiences that will be shared at the summit serve to support projects that grow local foods economies, according to summit presenter Jason Fischbach, agriculture agent for UW-Extension in Ashland and Bayfield counties.

“A whole lot of learning is the main goal here,” said Fischbach. “The folks that are involved in local food development work in our region will hopefully come away with some good ideas that we can implement locally. Hopefully, we’ll see some new projects and ideas launched.”

Keynote speakers for the 7th Annual Wisconsin Local Food Summit include Mike Wiggins, Jr., chairman of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. Wiggins will provide insight into Ojibwe harvesting methods and how treaty rights play a role in the tribe’s cultural food system. Sharon Adams, program director and co-founder of Walnut Way Conservation Corporation, also will offer a keynote address on her experiences with organizing initiatives that promote healthier, sustainable communities.

Those interested in learning about the Wisconsin Local Food Summit can contact Jane Hansen at (715) 339-5345. Information on how to register early is available online at www.wilocalfood.wordpress.com/summits.

USDA Celebrates Bird Health Awareness Week with Free Webinar

Spring is quickly approaching, and so is the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Bird Health Awareness Week. Bird Health Awareness Week, February 24 through March 2, 2013, helps promote healthy practices for raising backyard birds. More and more people, from urban neighborhoods to the countryside, are raising their own backyard flocks.

Since spring ushers in chicks’ season, the time when baby chicks and other baby birds begin hatching from their shells, the 2013 Bird Health Awareness Week will focus on these new additions to the country’s backyard flocks. Whether you are new to backyard poultry or are adding to your flock, USDA is celebrating Bird Health Awareness Week with a free webinar to help you learn more about raising healthy chicks.

The webinar, Growing Chicks into Healthy Chickens, is an hour-long, online presentation by three poultry experts. They will share information and answer questions about buying and raising healthy poultry, and how to keep them free from disease and predators. The webinar will take place on Thursday, February 28 from 2 – 3 p.m. EST. To guarantee your place at the webinar register now at https://healthychickens.webex.com and then enter the password: Chickens.

Hosting the webinar are: Andy Schneider, also known as “The Chicken Whisperer®,” a national radio personality who serves as the Biosecurity For Birds campaign spokesperson; Dr. Claudia Dunkley, a poultry scientist at the University of Georgia and Dr. Martin Smeltzer, a USDA poultry veterinarian.

No stranger to bird owners across the U.S., Schneider has become the go-to guy for information on raising and keeping backyard poultry safe from disease. In his third year as spokesperson for the BFB public awareness campaign, he is the author of, The Chicken Whisperer’s Guide to Keeping Chickens. He is the founder of the Atlanta Backyard Poultry Meetup group, which has grown to over 2,000 members and conducts poultry owner workshops nationwide. He is host of the Backyard Poultry with the Chicken Whisperer radio show. Schneider has been featured on CNN, HLN, CBS, NBC, ABC, NPR, and in Time Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, USA Today, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and many other publications.

Dr. Dunkley is an extension poultry scientist/specialist in the Department of Poultry Science at The University of Georgia. She conducts backyard educational programs in biosecurity and flock management, is involved in youth programs on the state and national levels for 4H poultry judging competitions and FFA poultry judging contests and contributes to programs that assist and educate county extension personnel. Dr. Dunkley is responsible for the grower/integrator education programs in Nutrient Management Planning, Agro/Bio- security seminars and grower training in mortality compost management. She has a PhD. in Poultry Science from Texas A&M University and master’s and bachelor’s degrees in Animal Science from Prairie View A&M University.

Dr Smeltzer is a poultry veterinarian working with the USDA Veterinary Service offices in Georgia. He has worked in the poultry industry since 1984 in multiple positions, from a primary poultry breeder to a diagnostician with a state poultry diagnostic system and as a USDA regional poultry epidemiologist. He is a graduate of the College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia and a Diplomat American College of Poultry Veterinarians.

The Biosecurity For Birds campaign works to educate the growing population of backyard poultry owners on how to keep their flocks healthy and free from such diseases as Avian Influenza (AI) and Exotic Newcastle Disease (END).

For more information about Biosecurity For Birds, please visit the Biosecurity For Birds website, http://healthybirds.aphis.usda.gov .

Ahead Of Sec Nomination Iwf Releases A “Binder Of Women Candidates For High Office”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – President Barack Obama will nominated Mary Jo White to succeed Elisse Walter as Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). This comes on the heels of heavy criticism from liberal feminist organizations, like the National Organization of Women (NOW), who have demanded to know “President Obama, Where are all the women?” and expressed “[t]here is no doubt that qualified women exist for each and every position [he] will be called to fill.”

The Independent Women’s Forum today released a “Binder of Women Candidates for High Office,” – a 48-page file filled with highly qualified women that would be exceptional nominations for top leadership positions.

Isn’t this what NOW had in mind?

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE COMPLETE BINDER OF QUALIFIED WOMEN

Additionally, IWF executive director Sabrina Schaffer issued the following statement on the nomination of White for SEC Chairman:

Unfortunately President Obama’s nomination of U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White is tainted with the question of whether it was done to satisfy liberal feminists, or because she’s really qualified for the job. Women shouldn’t be used as tokens to satisfy an obsession over gender parity coming from the left. Ultimately ideas and policy prescriptions should trump gender.

We applaud Ms. White for her achievements, but I hope the president doesn’t consider such a narrow lens as gender sufficient for nominations.

Ultimately we need to ask ourselves is full parity in government necessary for women to achieve full equality with men? Or should we instead be looking for a diversity of ideas and preferences in our government?

IWF believes that the president should recruit qualified female candidates because they have the best experience and hold the right ideological values, not to reach an arbitrary goal of gender parity.

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Snyder: 14 Companies To Invest $1.1 Billion, Add 4,590 Jobs In State

LANSING, Mich. – Gov. Rick Snyder  announced the Michigan Strategic Fund’s approval of state incentives to support 14 business expansions that are expected to generate more than $1.1 billion in investments and add 4,590 jobs in Michigan.

“Our reinvention of Michigan is all about more and better jobs for families and bright futures for our children,” Snyder said. “At the end of the day, that’s what this announcement really means. The fact that these companies are choosing to stay and grow in Michigan reinforces our well-earned reputation as America’s comeback state. The commitment and innovation of these job creators, coupled with the high quality of Michigan’s talent, will keep our state moving forward. I applaud this tremendous investment in Michigan’s future.”

The Michigan Strategic Fund today approved:

Michigan Business Development Program incentives

Cosma International is an operating unit of Magna International, a leading global automotive supplier. Cosma International plans to open an automotive casting components and systems facility in the city of Battle Creek, subject to completing all necessary commercial arrangements and receiving necessary approvals. Once established, the facility will be known as Cosma Casting Michigan and is expected to create up to 572 new jobs based on investment of up to $162 million. As a result, the company has been awarded a $1.6 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. Michigan was chosen over competing sites. The city of Battle Creek has offered support to the project in the form of property tax abatements.

DENSO International America Inc., the North American regional headquarters of DENSO Corp., supports design, engineering and testing for powertrain, climate controls, body electronics and safety automotive products. The company plans to expand its new product research and development operations in the city of Southfield, investing $45.7 million and creating 176 jobs. As a result, DENSO International has been awarded a $1.54 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. Michigan was chosen over existing facilities in Japan and Tennessee. The city of Southfield has offered five-year property tax abatements valued at $1.5 million.

DENSO Manufacturing Michigan Inc., a subsidiary of DENSO International America, produces automotive air conditioning and engine cooling components and systems. The company plans to invest $105 million in new manufacturing capabilities for advanced thermal management products including new lines for radiator and condenser products in the city of Battle Creek, creating 266 jobs. As a result, DENSO Manufacturing Michigan has been awarded a $1.46 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. Michigan was chosen over competing sites in Arkansas, Ontario and Mexico. The city of Battle Creek has offered five-year property tax abatements valued at $1.5 million.

Fair Oaks Farms Brands Inc. is part of a cooperative owned by a group of large dairy farming operations in the upper Midwest. Fair Oaks plans to manufacture nutritionally enhanced liquid milk products at a newly constructed facility in the city of Coopersville. The applicant expects to invest $127 million and create 133 jobs, resulting in a $900,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. Michigan was chosen over competing sites in New York, Pennsylvania and Indiana. The city of Coopersville has offered support in the form of 12-year property tax abatements.

Integrated Manufacturing and Assembly, a Lear subsidiary, manufactures and assembles automotive seating components. The company plans to expand operations at an existing facility, install new machinery and equipment and expand into a new facility in the city of Detroit. The company plans to invest $13.85 million and create 755 jobs, resulting in a $3 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. Michigan was chosen over competing sites in Indiana and Ohio. The city of Detroit is considering 12-year property tax abatements for the existing facility valued at $942,479.

Lear Corp., headquartered in Southfield, is a world leader in providing complete seating and electrical distribution for the automotive and aircraft industries. Lear plans to expand its operations in an additional facility in the city of Highland Park, investing $18.75 million and creating 334 jobs. As a result of the expansion, Lear has been awarded a $1.6 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. Michigan was chosen over competing sites in Ohio and Indiana. The city of Highland Park is supporting the project with 12-year property tax abatements valued at $3.4 million.

Moran Iron Works Inc. is a custom fabrication facility that has been designing, developing and manufacturing custom large metal modular components since 1978. The company has the opportunity to make larger products, and in order to do so, needs to expand its facility in the city of Onaway and make dock and facility improvements at the Port of Calcite in Rogers City. The company plans to invest $16.2 million and create 75 jobs, resulting in a $2 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. Presque Isle County has offered support to the project in the form of a purchase of a boom crawler crane to be used at the Port of Calcite.

Norplas Industries Inc. is a manufacturing division of Magna Exteriors and Interiors, an operating unit of Magna International, one of the world’s most diversified auto suppliers. Norplas plans to open a new state-of-the art robotic paint line and injection molding process operation in Delta Township and a new operation for light assembly and sequencing of front-end modules in Brownstown Township. The company plans to invest $81.75 million and create 658 jobs, resulting in a $2,000,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. Michigan was chosen over competing sites. Both Delta Township and Brownstown Township are offering support to the project in the form of property tax abatements.

Rigaku Innovative Technologies Inc. is a subsidiary of Rigaku Corp., a manufacturer of high-tech optical products. RIT manufactures optical products that are critical in global high-tech manufacturing. RIT plans to expand into new markets including the semiconductor industry and grow research and development, and production operations at its manufacturing facility in the city of Auburn Hills, investing $55.7 million and creating 27 jobs. As a result of the expansion, RIT has been awarded a $2 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. Auburn Hills was chosen over a site in California. The city of Auburn Hills is offering 12-year property tax abatements in support of the project valued at $241,146.

Van-Rob Inc., through its Michigan subsidiaries including Lenawee Stamping Corp., produces metal stamping and welded fabrications and assemblies for auto bodies and substructures. Van-Rob is considering adding several programs at its facility in the city of Tecumseh (subject to receiving all necessary approvals) and a new facility in Michigan. The company plans to invest $30.7 million and create 530 total jobs, resulting in a $5.3 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. The city of Tecumseh has offered seven-year property tax abatements valued at $1.3 million.

Whirlpool Corp., founded in Benton Harbor in 1911, is the world’s largest home appliance company. It plans to relocate refrigeration research and development operations from Evansville, Ind., to a former Whirlpool manufacturing facility in the city of Benton Harbor. Whirlpool plans to invest $18.9 million and create 180 jobs, resulting in a $2.4 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. Michigan was chosen over competing sites in Iowa and Mexico. The city of Benton Harbor is offering 12-year tax abatements valued at $1.85 million.

Michigan Community Revitalization Program incentive

Whitney Partners LLC, a commercial real estate development company, has been awarded a $1 million Community Revitalization Program performance-based grant and a $7.5 million performance-based loan to renovate the historic 19-story David Whitney building property in the central business district of Detroit. The project will transform the building into 108 residential apartments, 135 hotel rooms and retail space on the first floor, and will restore access to the Detroit People Mover. The project is expected to create 75 permanent full-time jobs and capital investment of $82.5 million.

Michigan Economic Growth Authority (MEGA) amendments

Axle Alliance MEGA amendment – A subsidiary of Detroit Diesel Corp., Axle Alliance manufactures axles for commercial vehicles and provides consulting services to other axle plants. The addition of the Detroit DT12 automated manual transmission and DD15 proprietary asymmetric turbo to the full line of Detroit brand engines and axles at the Redford Township facilities represents a capital investment of more than $100 million and an additional 204 jobs. As a result of the expansion, the Michigan Strategic Fund approved an increase in the maximum allowance for qualified new jobs on the company’s MEGA tax credit from 215 to 419.

Perrigo Company MEGA amendment – Perrigo is a leading global supplier, developer and manufacturer of over-the-counter and generic prescription medications, infant formulas, nutritional products and dietary supplements. The company is planning to add infrastructure and equipment to its site in the City of Allegan and a new facility and new equipment in Holland Charter Township, investing an additional $242 million and creating 650 jobs to support a tablet expansion for its over-the-counter business. As a result of the expansion, the Michigan Strategic Fund approved an increase in the maximum allowance for qualified new jobs on the company’s MEGA tax credit from 400 to 1,050. Holland Charter Township and the city of Allegan have offered property tax abatements in support of this project.

“These investments reach all parts of our state, from Alpena in the north, Benton Harbor in the south, Holland to Detroit, and promise new job creation in automotive manufacturing, robotics, home appliances, pharmaceuticals and high-tech optical products,” said MEDC President and CEO Michael A. Finney. “In the last two years we have greatly improved Michigan’s business climate and infrastructure, making it easier for our businesses to find new paths to prosperity, and the changes are paying off.”

The Michigan Business Development Program provides grants, loans and other economic assistance to qualified businesses that make investments or create jobs in Michigan, with preference given to businesses that need additional assistance for deal-closing and for second stage gap financing.

The MSF will consider a number of factors in making these awards, including: out-of-state competition, private investment in the project, business diversification opportunities, near-term job creation, wage and benefit levels of the new jobs, and net-positive return to the state. Business retention and retail projects are not eligible for consideration of these incentives.

The Michigan Community Revitalization Program provides grants, loans, or other economic assistance of up to $10 million to projects that will revitalize regional urban areas, act as a catalyst for additional investment in a community, reuse vacant or historic buildings and promote mixed use and sustainable development.

Smithsonian Looks at the Evolution of Mexican Food in America

Programs Examine Origins of Mexican Food and Latino Contributions to Food Production

January 29, 2013

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History and the Smithsonian Latino Center will present two programs related to Mexican American food and the production of food in America, including a look at the bracero (guest worker) farm labor program. The programs are offered in conjunction with the museum’s newest exhibition, “FOOD: Transforming the American Table 1950–2000,” which features 70 years of Latino food history, from a circa 1940 tortilla press to California vineyard tools used by the Robledo family. The exhibition draws on the museum’s bracero farm labor collection and highlights new objects collected to show the influence of immigrants and migrants on the American table, including the diffusion of Mexican-inspired food into all corners of the country.

Mexican specialties for purchase will be featured Feb. 9 and Feb. 23 in the museum’s Stars and Stripes Café.

These programs are part of a major initiative by the museum to create an ongoing program on food and wine in America. The museum envisions taking food and food history to the nation through its ongoing collecting efforts and a series of symposia and intellectual exchanges, online offerings and dynamic public programs.

Taco Nation/Planet Taco: How Mexican American Food Conquered the World
Saturday, Feb. 9; 1:30 – 4 p.m.
Panel Discussion: Warner Bros. Theater, first floor, center
Book sale and signing follow after the program, outside the exhibition, “FOOD: Transforming the American Table 1950–2000,” first floor, east wing
Note: Taco trucks will be on Constitution Avenue (between 12th and 14th streets) from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mexican specialties will be available all day in the museum’s Stars and Stripes Cafe.

This program features a lively discussion with Jeffrey Pilcher, historian and author of Planet Taco: A Global History of Mexican Food; Gustavo Arellano, syndicated columnist and author of Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America; and Smithsonian curator Rayna Green. Attendees will learn about the popularity of Mexican food in the U.S., from its indigenous origins in Mesoamerica to the present era of global commercialization.

Visitors can enjoy fare from a local taco trucks outside the museum and a book signing will take place following the program inside the museum’s food history exhibition, “FOOD: Transforming the American Table 1950–2000.”

Feeding America: Labor, Politics and Food
Saturday, Feb. 23; 1:30 – 4 p.m.
Film and roundtable: Warner Bros. Theater, first floor, center Book sale and signing follow after the program, outside the exhibition, “FOOD: Transforming the American Table 1950–2000,” first floor, east wing

A screening of Harvest of Loneliness, a documentary about the bracero program, will be followed by a roundtable conversation centered on the issues of agricultural work, politics and economy in the production of food in America. Panelists include authors Matt Garcia, Don Mitchell and Melanie DuPuis. The program will be moderated by museum curator Steve Velazquez. Participants will sign books after the program. Note: Mexican specialties will be available all day in the museum’s Stars and Stripes Café.

The museum is currently renovating its west exhibition wing with new galleries on American business, democracy and culture; an education center; new spaces for the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation; public plazas; a Hall of Music for live performances; and the addition of a first-floor window wall with views to the Washington Monument. For more information, visit http://americanhistory.si.edu. The museum is located at 14th Street and Constitution Avenue N.W., and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (closed Dec. 25). Admission is free.

The Smithsonian Latino Center is a division of the Smithsonian Institution that ensures that Latino contributions to art, science and the humanities are highlighted, understood and advanced through the development and support of public programs, scholarly research, museum collections and educational opportunities at the Smithsonian Institution and its affiliated organizations across the U.S. and internationally. For information call (202) 633-1240 or http://latino.si.edu/.

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SI-31-2012

National Museum of African Art Presents a Discussion with Poet Maya Angelou

National Museum of the American Indian Will Host the Event

January 23, 2013

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art presents the third offering of its Director’s Discussion Series. Johnnetta Betsch Cole, director of the museum, will have a lively, engaging and thought-provoking discussion with Maya Angelou, world-renowned poet, educator, historian, best-selling author, actress, playwright and civil-rights activist. The discussion will be introduced by on-air personality Cortney Hicks of Washington, D.C.’s radio station Majic 102.3. The event will be held Friday, Feb. 1, at the Rasmuson Theater in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. It is free and open to the public.

For a full bio on Angelou, visit africa.si.edu/angeloubio.

The Director’s Discussion Series features leading public intellectuals, artists and other cultural producers in conversation with Cole. The series started in 2011 with a discussion between Cole and renowned philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah of Princeton University. In July 2012 Cole sat down with celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson.

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SI-25A-2013

Note to editors: To request an interview with Cole, contact Eddie Burke at (202) 633-4660 or burkee@si.edu.

China consumes nearly as much coal as the rest of the world combined

Coal consumption in China grew more than 9% in 2011, continuing its upward trend for the 12th consecutive year, according to newly released international data. China’s coal use grew by 325 million tons in 2011, accounting for 87% of the 374 million ton global increase in coal use.

Governor Snyder Appointments, Reappointments

Appointments, reappointments made to Workers’ Compensation Board of Magistrates

LANSING, Mich. – Gov. Rick Snyder Friday announced four appointments and three reappointments to the Workers’ Compensation Board of Magistrates.

 “These appointees bring years of valuable experiences to the board, and I am confident they will fairly and effectively serve the people of Michigan in these roles,” said Snyder.

For full release, click here.

 Governor makes appointment, reappointments to State Historical Records Advisory Board

LANSING, Mich. – Gov. Rick Snyder Friday announced the appointment of Nicole Garrett, of Mason, and the reappointments of Frank Boles, of Mount Pleasant, and Patrice Merritt, of Detroit, to the Michigan State Historical Records Advisory Board.

 “These appointees are outstanding professionals and great choices for this board,” said Snyder. “I am thankful for their willingness to serve.”

 For full release, click here.

 

Snyder makes appointments, reappointment to State Historic Preservation Review Board

LANSING, Mich. – Gov. Rick Snyder Friday announced two appointments and one reappointment to the Michigan State Historic Preservation Review Board.

 “Historic preservation is vital to maintaining and enhancing the communities of the Great Lakes State,” said Snyder. “These appointees bring outstanding experience to the board and I am confident they will effectively serve in these roles.”

For full release, click here.

National Report Card for Parents Released

http://paracom.paramountcommunication.com/cimages/6afc857ee8ebf16a30616a3adf9c2c8a/new_logo2.jpgTop Ten States on Parent Power Index© provide roadmap for lawmakers 

CER Press Release
Washington, D.C.
January  2013

The nation’s “Top Ten” states that provide more expansive opportunities for parents also tend to yield higher growth rates in student achievement, according to the most recent national rankings on the Parent Power Index© (PPI) released today by The Center for Education Reform (CER). Indiana ranks No. 1, followed by Florida, Ohio, Arizona, D.C., Louisiana, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Utah, in enacting policies that allow for more parental empowerment, expansive educational choices, sound teacher quality measures, wider access to digital learning and more transparent data. These states’ policies correlate highly with increased student growth, particularly among lower socio-economic students, over time.

The PPI is an interactive, web-based tool that ranks the United States based on how much power a parent has over their children’s education. While there is a growing body of data and information available to parents, policymakers, educators and the general public, the PPI is the first and only comprehensive evaluation of state education policy that is geared towards parents, continuously updated in real-time, and now, provides an arsenal of state and local resources.

“All across America, parents are demanding more power over their children’s education, but the task of sorting through all the information out there is daunting,” said Jeanne Allen, president of CER. “There are a variety of resources available to evaluate how students are achieving, but there is widespread disagreement about what constitutes sound education reform policy.” Allen continued: “As the mother of college students, I liken the PPI to a cumulative GPA, which is a composite of grades from varying professors. In this case, these professors are among the nation’s leading authorities and critical evaluators of education policy.”

The latest rankings on the Parent Power Index© are a resulte of the release of CER’s 14th annual Charter School Laws Across the States Ranking and Scorecard 2013. Washington became the 43rd state to allow charter schools and only four other states made improvements to their charter laws last year.

In addition to charter schools, the Index evaluates states on school choice using data and analysis provided by the The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, The National Council on Teacher Quality’s detailed analysis in its annual State Teacher Policy Yearbook, Digital Learning Now’s evaluation of state policies based on 72 metrics, transparency of data, school board elections and Parent Revolution’s analysis of parent trigger laws. It also looks at local media reliability on education issues and if state executives are reform-minded. Further evaluation across all of these Elements of Power is ongoing and continuously updated at http://www.edreform.com/in-the-states/parent-power-index/.

The Parent Power Index© also reveals that a majority of states are barely making the grade when it comes to policies that allow parents to exercise choices, engage with local school boards and have a voice in the education systems that surround their children.

“The Index’s ‘Top Ten’ prove that when parents have access to options and good information all children can succeed,” Allen said. “Lawmakers need to look to these exemplars and the policies that have afforded parents greater power elsewhere and act fast to bring real education reform to their respective states. Parents and voters have declared that mediocrity is no longer acceptable, and our elected officials have a mandate to fix our educational and economic problems for good.”

McBroom Continues Work On State Curriculum

Bill implements options for career training courses

State Rep. Ed McBroom today introduced legislation to modify the Michigan Merit Curriculum so high schools can create more flexibility for career and vocational training education options.

“Students should be able to take classes and electives that interest them and fit their future career plans,” said McBroom, R-Vulcan. “The current one-size-fits-all state curriculum forces students on a path that may not suit the goals they have for themselves, and so the usefulness of their education opportunities can become questionable.”

McBroom’s House Bill 4073 allows for two additional math credits as an alternative to Algebra II; physics and chemistry requirements are removed but U.S. History is included; a half credit each of health education and physical education is required, although the PE credit can be earned through participation in an extra-curricular physical activity.

A work study component would also be added to the graduation requirements.