Tuesday Roundup: GOP, Alaska Schools, Broadband
The happy middle of the Republican Party in New Hampshire is out. The Tea Party is in, according to The Boston Globe’s Sarah Schweitzer:
Moderate Republicans, the practical-minded mainstay of the state’s venerable GOP, have watched in dismay as conservative legislators have proposed restricting state education funding to English, math, science, social studies, and physical education and urged that officials no longer “bear faith and true allegiance’’ to the United States and New Hampshire, but rather, only to New Hampshire.
• The FBI is on the case of the failed Eastern Livestock, which wrote more than $130 million in bad checks to at least 743 beef producers. DTN’s Katie Micik reports that the feds have seized $4.7 million from a personal bank account of Thomas Gibson, Eastern’s owner.
• AP reporter John Curran writes about the spread of broadband to rural America:
Bolstered by billions in federal stimulus money, an effort to expand broadband Internet access to rural areas is under way, an ambitious 21st-century infrastructure project with parallels to the New Deal electrification of the nation’s hinterlands in the 1930s and 1940s.
• Big agriculture groups are coming together to form a “coalition to counter poor publicity that they say has led to some bad public policies and threatens farmers’ ability to produce food for the world’s population,” AP writer Michael Crumb reports.
The National Corn Growers are part of the group, and the pork producers and various branches of the Farm Bureau. The story says the group will battle the Humane Society of the United States and “groups opposed to biotech crops or what environmentalists say is the overuse of fertilizers and other chemicals.”
• Bobby Ray Inman was the longest serving board member of Massey Energy, which owned the West Virginia mine that exploded last April, killing 29 miners. It was a disaster that federal investigators say was entirely “preventable.”
Now the Austin American-Statesman says that Inman will teach a course at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas that will include sessions on crisis management. Maybe there will also be a class or two on irony.
• Alaska has a new law that will direct scholarship money to students according to merit. Those students who take harder courses, get good grades and score well on college tests will get scholarships from a new program signed into law last May by Gov. Sean Parnell.
Few Alaska high school graduates go to college — only 30 percent. Only 7.9 percent from low income homes go on past high school. The students who need the most help are those who will score lowest on the merit-based test. And many of those come from rural schools, according to Jill Burke, writing in Alaska Dispatch.
The hope is that the pressure of the new scholarship program will bring “transformative change” to the state’s schools. “But,” Burke writes, “as his administration and the Legislature work to implement the program and find money to fund it long term, some lawmakers are concerned it will disproportionately favor big city kids over students in smaller, more remote communities.”