Saturday, April 02, 2011

Free Choice Education Press Release: Indiana House Passes Nation's Largest Voucher Bill

We received this E-Mail from The Foundation for Education Choice (for release March 30, 2011) and publish it here because it coincides with our own philosophy on the freedom of choice in education:

"Indiana House Passes Nation's Largest Voucher Bill
as 1,000 Gather Supporting School Choice


INDIANAPOLIS, IN — The Indiana House of Representatives today passed legislation that would become the nation's broadest voucher program, allowing low- and middle-income families to use taxpayer funds to send their children to the private school of their choice.
Earlier in the day, a crowd estimated at 1,000 parents, children, teachers, and supporters of reform gathered outside the State House in support of expanding educational options.
"The goal is to make sure as many kids as possible get choice," said Robert Enlow, President and CEO of the Foundation for Educational Choice.
House Bill 1003, approved in a 56-41 vote, creates a new scholarship program that enables families to send their children to the private school of their choice. Scholarship amounts are determined on a sliding scale based on income, with families receiving up to 90 percent of state support.
This program would be open to far more students than other systems, where vouchers are limited to low-income households, students in failing schools, or special-needs students. Under HB 1003, families earning up to $60,000 per year would be eligible. Within three years, there would be no limit on the number of eligible students.
The bill also improves Indiana's scholarship tax credit program by increasing the percentage of state tax credit, increasing the program cap by $10 million in each year after a year when the cap is reached, and by increasing family income eligibility.
Governor Mitch Daniels, former chancellor of Washington, D.C. schools Michelle Rhee, Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma, and Senate President Pro Tempore David Long addressed the crowd at the rally, organized by the Indianapolis-based Foundation for Educational Choice and partners, including School Choice Indiana.
"School vouchers put the power to choose the education that's best for children where it belongs - in the hands of the families themselves," said Enlow. "As we saw at today's thousand-person rally, that power is a right Indiana families passionately believe they deserve."
About the Foundation for Educational Choice
The Foundation for Educational Choice is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and nonpartisan organization, solely dedicated to advancing Milton and Rose Friedman's vision of school choice for all children. First established as the Milton and Rose D. Friedman Foundation in 1996, the foundation continues to promote school choice as the most effective and equitable way to improve the quality of K-12 education in America. The foundation is dedicated to research, education, and outreach on the vital issues and implications related to choice and competition in K-12 education.
This email was sent by:
The Foundation for Educational Choice
One American Square, Suite 2420
Indianapolis, IN, 46282-0014, USA"
Contact
Shepherd Pittman
State Marketing and Public Relations Director
Shepherd@EdChoice.org
850-728-6868  

It's All About ENERGY: The White House Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future

It's All About ENERGY. We posted about this before at LawPundit. Neither the Republicans nor the Democrats have MORE OIL, and recent events have shown the dangers of the alternative energy source of atomic power. What is the solution?

See the The White House Blog and The Obama Administration’s Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future.

I received the E-Mail below from David Plouffe, Senior Advisor to the President
at the White House, on this subject. Stay informed.


Good afternoon,

Surprised at how much it cost last time you filled up your gas tank? You're not alone. Millions of families and businesses across the country are feeling the pinch of rising gas prices.

Here's the thing: as long as our economy relies on oil and as demand in countries like China and India continues to grow, we'll be subject to these kinds of spikes in gas prices.

We've been down this road before -- just three years ago, gas prices rose to their highest level ever. There was no quick fix to lower prices then, just as there isn't one now.
For decades, politicians here in Washington have talked a lot about the dangers of our dependence on foreign oil, but this talk hasn't always been met with action. And today, Americans pay a price for that inaction every time they fill up their tanks.

Yesterday, we unveiled a Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future that sets a goal of reducing our imports of foreign oil. By 2025 -- a little more than a decade from now -- we will have cut that reliance by one-third.

Learn more about the Blueprint and watch President Obama's speech on energy security:

In his speech yesterday, President Obama outlined his plan to secure our energy future by developing and securing America's energy resources, bringing energy costs down for consumers, and innovating our way to a clean energy future.
  • Increase domestic energy production. Last year, American oil production reached its highest level since 2003. And, because we can't just drill our way out of this crisis, we're reducing our dependence on oil by increasing fuel efficiency and increasing our production of natural gas and biofuels.
  • Reduce demand for oil. Transportation is responsible for 70 percent of our petroleum consumption, so one of the quickest and easiest ways to reduce our dependence on foreign oil is to make transportation more efficient.  That's why, in April of last year, the Obama Administration established a groundbreaking national fuel efficiency standard for cars and trucks that will save us 1.8 billion barrels of oil and save consumers thousands of dollars. We're also making investments in electric vehicles and the advanced batteries that power them to ensure that high-quality, fuel-efficient cars and trucks are built right here in America.
  • Increase production of clean energy. In his State of the Union address, President Obama set a goal that by 2035, 80 percent of our electricity should come from clean energy sources including renewables like wind and solar, nuclear energy, efficient natural gas, and clean coal.
The concepts are straightforward, but the execution will be challenging. In order to make this happen, Republicans and Democrats in Congress must find common ground for a responsible and effective energy policy.

But no matter your views on this issue, I think we can all agree that the United States simply can't afford to leave this challenge for future generations to solve.

Sincerely,

David Plouffe
Senior Advisor to the President

P.S. Check out our new Advise the Advisor video featuring Secretary of Energy Steven Chu and give us your feedback on how we can meet the President's goal of reducing imports of oil by one-third in a little over a decade:
http://www.WhiteHouse.gov/Advise
....

America.gov Decommissioned as of March 31, 2011: U.S. State Department Content Now at 450 Embassy Sites and at State.gov

The U.S. Department of State has reorganized its online presentation as follows in this media release:

Bureau of International Information Programs Expands Its Engagement on the Web

"Media Note
Office of the Spokesman

Washington, DC

March 30, 2011

Bureau of International Information Programs (IIP) Coordinator Dawn L. McCall announced the expansion of the Bureau’s web presence to more than 20 social media assets in seven languages garnering a following of 1.7 million. The Bureau has also initiated a web-based mobile platform for special events to appeal to small-screen users.

IIP, which operates four of the Department’s top-five Facebook sites, uses its social media presence to engage youth audiences on topics of interest. Eighty percent of followers of its Democracy Is Facebook site, which grew rapidly with recent events in the Middle East, are under the age of 24.

IIP deployed a web-based mobile smart phone product in English, Spanish and Portuguese during the President’s recent trip to three countries in Latin America, with usage spiking in each country during the visit. The mobile site supplemented Facebook and web-based content designed to spur conversation about the events of the visit.
IIP’s expanded use of web-enabled engagement channels demonstrates the Bureau’s commitment to shift its strategy from a static web site to seeking audiences proactively on the platforms they frequent in their language. The Bureau provides “virtual face time” with U.S. government officials through its CO.NX platform, which combines live streamed video and interactive chat functions. Last month, the Bureau offered global access to Secretary Clinton’s Washington, DC-based Strategic Dialogue with Civil Society, with audiences at more than 50 Embassies joining in the event and discussion.

Due to the change in strategy, as of March 31, the Bureau will no longer support its website,
America.gov. Content the Bureau produces will continue to feed the 450 Embassy websites around the world. Translations of official transcripts of the President’s and Secretary’s statements will be available on State.gov.

For more information, please send an email to
IIPInquiries@state.gov." [emphasis added]

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