Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Tennessee governor proposes community college for all; Maine gov goes after drug peddlers in different tack than Vermont

Here is the story about Tennessee, by NYT education reporter Richard Perez-Pena.  A quote from it follows:
Tennessee would be the only state in the country to charge no tuition or fees to incoming students under the proposal by Gov. Bill Haslam, a Republican, which policy analysts called a big step toward a better-educated work force. 
“This is the best idea to boost participation in higher education in a generation,” said Terry W. Hartle, senior vice president of the American Council on Education, a major association of public and private colleges. 
Mr. Haslam made it the centerpiece of hisState of the State address on Monday, calling for two years of free schooling for state residents with high school diplomas or equivalency degrees, without regard to academic credentials or financial need. The change requires approval by the state legislature, whose leaders reacted favorably to the idea.
Later, the governor said in a telephone interview:  
We just needed to change the culture of expectations in our state. College is not for everybody, but it has to be for a lot more people than it’s been in the past if we’re going to have a competitive work force.
And here is the story about Tea Party-backed Maine Governor Paul LePage's State of the State address yesterday, in which he lamented the 7 % of Maine babies born addicted to drugs in 2013, but failed to mention treatment options.  Katharine Q. Seelye, reporting for the times, contrasted LePage's remarks with those of Peter Shumlin, Vermont's Democratic Governor who last month highlighted his state's challenge to confront heroin addiction, but with a much more sympathetic view.  
Mr. LePage, a Republican with Tea Party backing, devoted most of his speech to what he described as the scourge of welfare, but he allotted several minutes at the end to drug addiction. Mr. LePage cast the drug problem in terms of law enforcement and economics. 
“While some are spending all their time trying to expand welfare, we are losing the war on drugs,” Mr. LePage told the State Legislature, putting his emphasis on expanding the law enforcement and judicial response, without mentioning a role for treatment. 
He called on lawmakers to expand Maine’s judicial branch by adding four special drug prosecutors and four judges to sit in enhanced courts in Bangor, Lewiston, Portland and Presque Isle. He also called for adding 14 agents to the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency.
Speaking of a more sympathetic approach, here is a recent NPR story about Vermont's effort to establish a one-stop shop to help addicted pregnant women.  

1 comment:

Dakota Sinclair said...

I think it is tragic that politicians feel comfortable attacking victims of drug use. I understand many say that drug use is a personal choice and an addict can stop using it at any point in time. Having been around some addicts before in a criminal environment, and talked with them, I've come to see the situation a bit differently. A drug addict made a mistake and imbibed a dangerous drug that altered their brain chemically. The brain now has an overwhelming desire and demand for that substance again and again.

What the Maine governor, Mr. LePage, is saying is heartless and ignorant. I much prefer the method Vermont is taking and trying to help pregnant women. What I continue to find bemusing is Tea Party candidates will proclaim their love of God and country, while ignoring the very real fact that the bible they claim to abide by....discusses loving thy neighbor and taking care of them in times of need. A pregnant drug addict sounds like a perfect candidate for such a line of thinking, yet the Tea Party would rather blame law enforcement for not cracking down on the mother.