Kelly McCutchen's blog

Time to restructure end-of-year student testing?

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Across Georgia, tension is in the air as 1.6 million students endure the annual ritual of end-of-year testing. Nervous students, parents and teachers feel the pressure: The efforts of an entire year hinge upon the performance at this one point in time.   Read More»

Thinking outside the Obamacare box

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Healthcare costs threaten to bankrupt our country. Debates over Medicaid expansion, the Medicare “doc fix,” the state of Georgia’s health plan, coverage of autism and so many other healthcare issues merely shift these costs from one party to another.

The time has come for a “let’s go to the moon” challenge that truly addresses the underlying problems. Read More»

Healthcare expansion: ‘Yes, if . . .’ vs. ‘No, because . . .’

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Expanding Medicaid under existing inflexible federal regulations would be unwise and irresponsible as a long-term solution for Georgia, but that doesn’t mean there are not more effective alternatives.

The question should not focus on whether to expand a specific program such as Medicaid. The question is how does Georgia best provide access to quality healthcare to our poorest citizens in a way that is fiscally sustainable. Read More»

No matter who wins, only leadership will restore U.S.

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When we wake up on Wednesday after Election Day, there will be less uncertainty in America. But will there be greater confidence?

The election will not solve fundamental issues such as transportation, education and healthcare. In fact, it will create new questions. Successfully addressing these challenges will require strong leadership at the state and national level.

Leadership is not just about ideas and policy. It’s about taking the initiative to bring people together for a common goal. Read More»

Why penalize Ga. families for buying health insurance?

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What if someone proposed a law to tax working families $5,000 or more if they purchase health insurance? Such legislation would have no chance of passing. Yet it is, in effect, a painful reality for many Georgia families.

More than 400,000 Georgians work in small businesses that don’t offer health insurance. A fundamental flaw in the federal tax code since the 1940s excludes these individuals from the massive tax exemptions available through employer-purchased health insurance. Read More»

Georgia tax and spending ranks by the numbers

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How has Georgia responded to the Great Recession compared to other states? The latest data from the Census Bureau tells us some things we knew and some things some might find surprising.

Everyone likes rankings, but it’s very important to make sure state-to-state comparisons are fair. Some states are very decentralized, with local government accounting for a large portion of all government spending, while state government plays a larger role in other states. Read More»

It’s time to realign Georgia’s fiscal priorities

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Fifteen years ago it was almost impossible to drive by a public school in Georgia without seeing at least one classroom trailer in the parking lot. Parents viewed those trailers as a threat to their children’s education, so in 1996 voters approved E-SPLOST – the special purpose local option sales tax for education that has funded hundreds of new schools and improvements to existing schools. Read More»

Time to rethink Ga. education funding

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Technology is poised to fundamentally transform education over the next decade. It offers the opportunity to provide every child in Georgia with access to a high-quality education and new abilities to address long-term challenges such as dropout rates and remedial education. To benefit from this technological revolution, Georgia must remove the barriers to innovation – starting with funding. Read More»

Supremes’ charter school misfire

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It took more than 100 pages to debate the meaning of just one word. In the end, Georgia’s Supreme Court ruled in a 4-3 vote this week that most state-authorized charter schools do not meet the definition of the word “special.” Barring other actions, 15,000 public school students who faced uncertainty for months must now search for another school to attend before the new school year begins in August. One thing is certain: We cannot allow Georgia to be known as the state that shuts down quality public schools. Read More»