Photo of the Day

Going personal with this one.  For the record, it still feels really weird to say “my daughter” after 11 years of only “son(s)” and “boy(s)”:

What’s wrong with Head Start?

Okay, so I’ve heard in a lot of places about how cost effective pre-school education can be for at-risk kids.  Spending money early in life can pay dividends years down the road.  Here’s the thing, though, the most wide-spread pre-school program for at-risk kids is the federal government’s Head Start program.  Apparently, there’s been a comprehensive study– the Head Start Impact Study– that basically shows there’s no lasting impact.  So, I don’t actually know anything about Head Start, but I assume some of you reading this do.  So, what’s the story?  Why are there a number of studies for the efficacy for various pre-school programs, but Head Start is apparently not effective?  What’s the difference?  This seems awfully important to figure out.

Perry facts

Nice piece in Texas Monthly about 8 things “Yankees ought to know about Rick Perry.”  (Texas Monthly seems like an awesome publication by the way– haven’t read a lot from it, but everything I have is really good).  Anyway,  a couple of the 8, I found particularly interesting:

2. It’s not a big deal that Perry was once a Democrat. To suggest otherwise will make you look foolish. When Perry was elected to the statehouse, in 1985, conservative Democrats ran the Legislature. In 1989, realizing that a conservative had little future in the party, Perry switched to the GOP. He has been a rock-solid Republican ever since and has driven the state party further to the right

Wow.  I had no idea anybody was making a big deal out of this.  To do so, is simply to show an amazing ignorance over recent Southern politics.  Obviously, Perry was a Democrat when that was the most strategic way to go and he read the changing winds and became a Republican when that was the better road to success.  There’s no evidence that Perry was ever anything but conservative.  Into the 1980’s you could still be quite conservative and still be a Democrat in Texas state politics.

4. Texas is not a “weak governor” state. A common misconception. It used to be true, but during his historic governorship, Perry has reinvented the office as a power center. This may be his greatest accomplishment.

That was really interesting to me.  Back in the Texas Tech days, I actually had to teach American and Texas Government.  It typically meant teaching Congress for 45 minutes and the Texas legislature for 5, etc.  What I do remember, though, is that Texas is a weak governor state where the Lieutenant Governor is arguably more powerful.  If Perry truly has changed this, that really does say something about his political skills.

8. Don’t discount the luck factor. It is uncanny how often good fortune has been in ­Perry’s corner throughout his political career.

Generally speaking, any really successful person in almost any field has benefited from a fair amount of luck to get there.  That’s life.  Of course, if you are a Republican, you can attribute it all to hard work and merit.

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