Capitol Comments

As President Obama and Congressional leaders continue to battle over the federal budget, namely what government programs to cut and what taxes to increase, a new computer game gives you the chance to set spending priorities for the federal government.   Players of Budget Hero quickly discover how difficult it is to achieve their policy objectives while keeping the government from going broke.

With the debt ceiling negotiations stalled, and the August 2 deadline looming, the White House convened a conference call on Wednesday, June 13 to lay out the President's position and explore the impact of the impasse on states.  The call, hosted by the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, featured a discussion led by David Kamin, Special Assistant to the President for Economic Policy. 

Within the last 20 years we have gone from interacting with information by tediously sifting through thousands of pages of text at our local libraries to instantly accessing information whenever we want it, wherever we are.  We take this information at face value and seemingly put all of our trust in the first Google hit that we get in response to our search query.  While our increasing access to information is assuredly transforming our world for the better, information assimilated without understanding or review can quickly lead us to false paradigms that are difficult to change. 

Occasionally, some education topics hit a little too close to home for me. I recently watched a promo for an Alliance for Excellent Education (AEE) Webinar held on July 6 titled, “The Nation’s Report Cards for U.S. History and Civics.” AEE President Bob Wise, waving an American flag and donning a feathery colonial tricorn hat, explained that U.S. history – not math, or science or reading – is the subject in which the smallest percentage of American 8th and 12th graders score at a proficient level or better on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).

CSG Research & Expertise in the News: 7/3-7/9, 2011

The following compilation features published news stories during the week of July 3-9 that highlight experts and/or research from The Council of State Governments. For more information about any of the experts or programs discussed, please contact CSG at (800) 800-1910 and you will be directed to the appropriate staff.  Members of the press should call (859) 244-8246.

Minnesota’s government shutdown is entering its third week with no real end in sight. Rather than looking at the politics driving the shutdown, I thought it important to look at impacts on the 22,000 state government employees not getting paychecks.

States Perform, CSG’s interactive performance measurement website, has been updated with additional measures in the Energy and Environment and Public Safety and Justice areas.  The energy and environment measures illuminate green building, alternative fuel vehicles, and renewable energy utilization in the states.  The public safety and justice measures provide an up-to-date picture of state prison populations and criminal recidivism.  Read on for sample insights from the new data. 

Today’s Federal Register releases two regulations on health insurance exchanges, a key component of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). 

One pundit reports that the feds pledge "flexibility" to the states 38 separate times -- making the regulations likely to soothe state officials no matter their position on federal health care reform.

When the federal government set forth guidelines for state assessments to evaluate rigorous academic standards, it delineated many uses for the tests.  The U.S. Department of Education funded two consortia to develop state-of-the-art assessments that measure student achievement and increases in learning as well as evaluate the effectiveness of teachers, administrators and schools.