Conservatively Speaking

State Senator Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) represents parts of four counties: Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, and Walworth. Her Senate District 28 includes New Berlin, Franklin, Greendale, Hales Corners, Muskego, Waterford, Big Bend, the town of Vernon and parts of Greenfield, East Troy, and Mukwonago. Senator Lazich has been in the Legislature for more than a decade. She considers herself a tireless crusader for lower taxes, reduced spending and smaller government.

Wisconsin counties struggling to grow income


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How is your school district doing?

isn’t cheap when it comes to funding education, especially our area of the state. The Public Policy Forum’s October 2008 Research Brief indicates school spending is above average in the southeast part of Wisconsin and higher than the state as a whole.

Our region is behind the rest of the state in graduation but surpasses the state in ACT and AP scores.

You can read more about these and other findings in The Public Policy Forum’s October 2008 Research Brief here.

Unlike Wisconsin, what other states are doing Election Day

Photo ID

Take a look at this list of states:

South Dakota
North Dakota
South Carolina

You will notice Wisconsin is not on the list. That is because the list includes states that either request or require identification to vote.

Presenting identification at the polls is not a barrier or hardship to vote. 
In fact, The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) writes, “In no state is a voter who cannot produce identification turned away from the polls—all states have some sort of recourse for voters without identification to cast a vote.  However, in Georgia and Indiana, voters without ID vote a provisional ballot, and must return to election officials within a few days and show a photo ID in order for their ballots to be counted.”

Here is the NCSL rundown on what other states require for voting.

Keep in mind why Wisconsin does not have a photo ID law on the books. Governor Doyle and state Senate Democrats killed any chance of a photo ID requirement being in place for the critical November elections when the governor vetoed photo ID legislation three times and Senate Democrats refused to allow a vote on a photo ID constitutional amendment. A common sense photo ID requirement would not be an obstacle to voting or hamper the process.

Teacher pay tied to test scores

Traditionally, American teachers have seen their salaries rise as years of service and the number of degrees they achieve increase. School districts in eight states are trying something new: offering higher pay and bonuses in exchange for improved student test scores or if teachers opt to work in schools difficult to staff.

Doe the experiment work? USA Today reports, “In dozens of districts, test scores already have earned teachers more money. Do such plans work? A proposed realignment of pay in Washington, D.C., public schools could prove the most sweeping of all. Teachers with as few as six years of experience could earn well over $100,000 — more than twice the national average.”

Michael Podgursky, Professor of Economics at the Harry S. Truman School of Public Affairs and Economics Department at the University of Missouri–Columbia says school districts should at least consider this concept.

“We can’t say, ‘Do this; or this is the right way to do it,’” he said. “However, the preponderance of evidence, when you look at a variety of sources, including the limited number of evaluations and the evidence we have on the variation of teacher effectiveness, suggests that it really is something school districts should be exploring or piloting. Every one of the evaluations has been virtually positive. They all suggest there’s a positive response in terms of outcome measures – including test scores.”

Podgursky and Matthew Springer, Research Assistant Professor of Public Policy and Education at Peabody College of Vanderbilt University and Director of the National Center on Performance Incentives authored a study on this issue during 2007 entitled, Teacher Performance Pay: A Review. Podgursky and Springer conclude, in part:

“In the long run, a pay scheme tends to attract employees who prefer or prosper under it. While the literature is not sufficiently robust to prescribe how systems should be designed, it is sufficiently positive to suggest that further experiments and pilot programs by districts and states are very much in order.  School administrators need to channel some of these funds toward more strategic pay experiments designed to raise student achievement. Education policy makers should nurture, expand, and evaluate these local experiments.”

You can read their study here. 

I agree. This is an intriguing idea that while in need of further study is worth consideration.

Report examines spending trends on higher education



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