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What We’re Reading | January 25, 2013

February 1, 2013 5 minute Read by Jacqueline Lowe

The Great Refrainer The 4% Growth Project’s
Robert Asahina takes a look at the new biography on President Calvin Coolidge, by Amity Shlaes, Director of The 4% Growth Project. According to Asahina, who quotes several other book reviews, the book shines a new light on a somewhat forgotten president, who often made his mark not by what he did by not doing something: “Despite — or perhaps because of — his achievements, Coolidge does not fit our preconceptions of what a President should be, and do (or not do). He did not believe in appeasing interest groups. He believed it was more important to prevent a bad law than to sign a good one. He emphasized both tax cuts and budget cuts. He was reluctant to intervene in the economy. He upheld private property, free enterprise, small government, federalism, and the virtues of family and faith. He did indeed say that “the chief business of America is business” — but also that “the ideal of America is idealism.”” Shlaes points out that under Coolidge the economy and prosperity consistently grew, and perhaps there are forgotten lessons from Coolidge’s refraining that our country could use today. Read a conversation between Shlaes and Paul Volcker, former chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank, about the biography here. Quality Counts Reports like those found in the 2013 edition of

Education Week’s Quality Counts report: Code of Conduct: Safety, Discipline, and School Climate
showcase the difficulties in schools regarding the lack of strong peer and student-teacher relationships, effective and positive ways to address student misbehavior, supports for social and emotional development, and the involvement of parents and community groups, and Middle School Matters is thankful for that.  Middle School Matters is committed to helping schools with the “Now What?” after reading such reports.  There are research-based principles and practices related to school leadership and student behavior supports that can be applied in middle grades education to improve student outcomes. School leaders and teachers can consider these strategies for setting up a positive climate for learning and assisting students in demonstrating positive behavior. This will enable middle grade students to have the behavior skills they need not only for high school success, but also success in post-secondary education and/or future careers.  Stay tuned to Middle School Matters on Feb 4th for a closer look into specific research based strategies to addressing student supports in the middle grades.

The Second Anniversary of Egypt’s Revolution
On the second anniversary of the January 25 uprising in Tahrir Square that led to the toppling of Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak, and the beginning of a democratic transition, Women’s Initiative Director Charity Wallace has written this blog post to commemorate the anniversary and reflect on the country’s progress over the last two years and prospects for the future. The Women’s Initiative Fellowship Program  has completed its first year with its first class of 14 Egyptian women who participated and Wallace says, “The remarkable Egyptian women who make up the Bush Institute’s Women’s Initiative Fellowship Program give us reason for hope.  It is these women, and countless other Egyptians, who are standing together in the Square or in the streets to make sure their country’s future will be a viable one – one that affords all its citizens protection and rights under the law.”

Chavez is not going quietly
The Freedom Collection recommends this editorial by Jackson Diehl in the Washington Post about the health of Hugo Chavez and the questions surrounding his future and his successor.  “Questions continue to mount as the Venezuelan President has been receiving treatment in Cuba for over a month.  Little has been heard from the normally bombastic Chavez during this time.   Some have grown more suspicious over this prolonged silence as the constitution requires the President of the National Assembly to assume the Venezuelan Presidency if the sitting leader is incapacitated.  This process, however, would not support Chavez’s hand-picked successor, Vice President Nicolas Maduro.  However the saga plays out, Diehl worries about the future of Venezuela and what he believes is Chavez’s legacy of debt, inflation, and increasing crime.”  

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