The Pulse: Citizens League Issues Scan

"The Pulse", the Citizens League issue scan looks at topics of interest to members of the Citizens League (www.citizensleague.net)

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Thursday, August 22, 2002
 
K-12 Education. Voucher Support for Private Schools Rises. The 34th annual poll of 1,000 adults, conducted by the Gallup Organization for the educational group Phi Delta Kappa, found that 52 percent of those surveyed opposed the use of state vouchers to expand access to private education. About 46 percent support the voucher program, up from 34 percent a year ago. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points. In short, the percent opposing and supporting is now almost dead even when taking account of the margin of error. The full story is online at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A41909-2002Aug20.html. (121)

Wednesday, August 21, 2002
 
Education: K-12. School Data at State Fair. The Department of Children Families & Learning (CFL) will be displaying their CLASS website in the Wonders of Technology Building during the Minnesota State Fair. CLASS, which stands for Connecting Learning and Accountability for Students and Schools, helps integrate student performance, school finances and staff in an easy to navigate interactive website. The system reports information in three areas: standards and assessments, data analysis, and resources. The website is available at http://cflapp.state.mn.us/CLASS/index.jsp. (120)

Tuesday, August 20, 2002
 
The Economy. Cluster Studies Not Just for USA: Thai Cluster Studies by Michael Porter. Noted global competitiveness guru at Harvard University Michael Porter worked with Thai researchers to develop three papers on industrial clusters: tourism in Phuket which is Thailand's second tourist destination after Bangkok and one of the fastest growing in the world, the black tiger shrimp industry and trade exhibitions. Porter and his colleagues applied Porter's "diamond model" around the factors of strategy structure, government, demand conditions, related and supporting industries and factor conditions. The tourism study found that Phuket was becoming a "cheap" tourism destination and recommended creation of a skills development fund for the tourism industry, training programs for different levels of personnel in the tourism industry and scond language and supervisory skills. The article appeared in Thai english language newspaper The Nation, August 20, 2002. (119)

 
Energy. World's First Fuel Cell Vehicle. The world's first fuel cell vehicle will reside at the Minnesota State Fair this year. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is showing the exhibit in the "Wonders of Technology" building. However, you will not find it if you are lookign for a futuristic car. Instead, look for a 1959 Allis-Chalmers D-12 tractor that is bright orange. The tractopr demonstration helped NASA design their model of an onboard power supply for the Apollo spacecraft. The fuel cell ran on fuel gases, mostly propane, mixed with oxygen, which powered the 20-horsepower engine. To learn more about fuel cells, stop by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's display at the Minnesota State Fair through Labor Day, 2002. (118)

Monday, August 19, 2002
 
The Economy. Biotech Plans in Singapore. Singapore, roughly the size of Hennepin County and the population of the Twin Cities metropolitan area is moving on an aggressive biotechnology plan with 2 billion dollars committed over the next three years, a 200 acre science park, and recruitment of top talent including the cloner of "Dolly the Sheep." Talent is seen as the weakest link for their programs. The full story may be read at the International Herald Tribune at: http://www.iht.com/articles/68020.html. (117)

 
Government and Election Reform. The Center for Economic Development (CED) recently released a report calling for all state judges within the United States be appointed rather than the current system for many of an election. The report argues "the need for judges to appeal to voters and seek campaign contributions to finance their quests for office is antithetical to the ideal of an independent and impartial judiciary." CED is an independent, nonpartisan organization of business and education leaders dedicated to policy research on the major economic and social issues of our time and the implementation of its recommendations by the public and private sectors. the full report is available at www.ced.org. (116)

Sunday, August 18, 2002
 
State Legislature. Ten Issues to Watch. In Governing magazine online Melissa Conradi and Alan Greenblatt described ten issues to watch: budget, terrorism, welfare, Medicaid, power grid, education, privacy, election reform, immigration, and genetics. Their analysis is a good primer for the upcoming legislative sessions in state capitols and Saint Paul, Minnesota will be dealing with most of these issues to be sure. The full analysis may be found at: http://www.governingmagazine.com/1outlook.htm (115)