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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Tuesday, April 08, 2003
 
Governemnt and Election Reform. Can we change the primary system? The National Association of Secretaries of State is pushing for a new, rotating primary schedule starting in 2008. The reason for the proposed change is to end the current practice of frontloading the presidential primary calendar. Massachusetts Secretary of State Bill Galvin, who chairs the NASS Presidential Primary Reform Committee noted, “In 1984, only eight states had held their primaries by the end of March. If all of the states looking to move up their primaries get their way, that number will jump to twenty-eight in 2004. In reality, the collective rush to gain a louder voice in the process is actually undermining it by creating a longer campaign season and a more disengaged electorate.”

Under the proposal, primaries would be grouped by region and rate each election cycle. In 2008, if adopted, the East would hold primaries in March, the South in April, the Midwest in May, and the West in June. However, Iowa and New Hampshire would retain their current primary schedule because of their focus on “retail” politics. The full plan is available at www.nass.org. (355)


Monday, April 07, 2003
 
Education: K-12. St. Paul shows some improvement. In 2001, the Citizens League released a report, "A Failing Grade For School Completion" which helped make public the fact that the majority of students in the Minneapolis and St. Paul school districts do not graduate from high school within the standard four-year tiem period. According to the Department of Childen, Families and Learning, St. Paul had a growth in graduation rate by 6.5 percent between 1997 and 2000. The most significant gain by ethnic group was for Native Americans with an increase of 16.2 percent. Although this is an improvement, we have a long way to go to reach an acceptable level. (354)