Capitol Comments

Maine Superintendent of Instruction Don Siviski says he apologizes to every large group he talks to because education was getting it wrong when they were in school.

“We had this fixed mindset where your IQ didn’t change,” Siviski said at Saturday’s “Education Reform: Fact or Fiction?” session. “We put you into ability groups because we were nice to you. We tracked you. … (We) limited your aspirations. … We just destroyed kids’ dreams.

The situation is bad between federal and state governments and it doesn’t look like it’s going to get any better anytime soon.

The Council of State Governments’ Focus on Federalism Task Force conducted its first meeting Saturday with a hearing focusing on how intergovernmental relations have gotten so bad and what can be done about it. The task force is a two-year effort of CSG.

Do you know how much bang for the buck your state is getting from the money it spends?

That’s an important question to answer, said Gary VanLandingham, director of the Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative. He spoke during Thursday’s “Results First—Cost-Benefit Approaches to State Policymaking.”

Noted author and historian David McCullough said Missouri-born president Harry S. Truman exhibited many traits that helped make him a great leader.

Speaking at Friday’s luncheon, McCullough said Truman’s sister Mary Jane sent him letters in 1945, shortly after he became president, complaining about how difficult it was for her and their mother to get ready to visit him at the White House.

Kansas City has made a big investment in the smart grid and legislators got the chance Friday to see just what that investment has created during a tour of the Green Impact Zone Smart Grid Demonstration Project.