web analytics

Archive | Voices and Views

Trump’s challenges are just beginning

 

V-Lee-HamiltonBy Lee H. Hamilton

As hard as the campaign might have been and the transition is proving to be, Donald Trump’s challenges are really just beginning. Governing after a toxic election in which the results awarded him an ambiguous national mandate—his opponent, after all, got more votes—will require finesse, a clear-eyed view of his role in the world, and no small amount of luck.

He will soon find that the commitments and promises made during the campaign are going to be very hard to carry out. The new President’s number one priority almost certainly is going to be rebuilding U.S. economic power. A great many of the people who voted for him did so because they expect him to produce more good jobs, better incomes, and better economic opportunity.

But he faces great difficulties on this front, from persistent poverty and a decaying infrastructure to rapid technological and global changes that make it harder for people without a college education to find work. Plus, of course, a slow-moving Congress and an entrenched bureaucracy.

Other domestic issues he addressed in the campaign will prove no easier to pursue. Donald Trump campaigned on replacing Obamacare, a position that President-Elect Trump began to moderate within days of winning the election. He has not set out a comprehensive alternative — simply keeping the popular parts and jettisoning the rest, which he suggested he might do, is not an acceptable or workable option.

He has made clear that he wants to enact large tax cuts, especially on businesses, while at the same time spending billions on infrastructure improvements. Most evaluations of his policy proposals suggest that deficits will explode under his program. We’ll see how much stomach Congress and the country have for sending deficits spiraling upward.

Others of the President-elect’s programs—slashing regulations on financial institutions, on worker protections, and on environmental impacts–would create major changes in American policy at home. These, too, will arouse much opposition.

As a candidate, Mr. Trump effectively captured the discontent and anger of many Americans. With his proposals, he has upended the political order with a new brand of politics and policies. My guess is that he is on a steep learning curve, having under-estimated the difficulties and over-estimated his capabilities to deal with them. We should all extend the President-elect the benefit of the doubt, be vigilant, and see how his presidency unfolds before becoming judgmental.

Lee Hamilton is a Senior Advisor for the Indiana University Center on Representative Government; a Distinguished Scholar, IU School of Global and International Studies; and a Professor of Practice, IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs. He was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for 34 years.

Posted in Lee Hamilton ColumnComments (0)

An issue we should no longer ignore 

 

By Lee Hamilton

By Lee Hamilton

Americans understand that our nation’s strength and security depend on its fiscal health. But we face an ongoing, long-term mismatch between our spending and revenues, and year after year, administration after administration, the debt grows larger.

A lot of ordinary people worry about this. They believe that a healthy fiscal situation is essential to our success as a nation. And they want policies in place that allow us to address the debt without interfering with the economic wellbeing of the country.

The presidential candidates aren’t giving serious attention to deficit reduction, and neither, for the most part, are members of Congress. Yet with a rising proportion of older people and spending on entitlement programs such as Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare growing dramatically, we’re not far away from facing dangerous levels of debt. A fix is becoming increasingly urgent, and the longer we delay the more difficult it will be.

So what do we do? The solutions flow along three broad lines: spending cuts, tax increases, and economic growth. There are advocates for each, but it is hard to imagine that salvation lies in one approach alone. We need them all: a combination of tax increases, spending cuts in both defense and non-defense areas, and economic growth that will stabilize debt at a manageable level.

Each is difficult. Capitol Hill’s preferred tactic when it comes to taxes is to cut them, not increase them. On the spending side, the rhetoric coming from Washington—and out on the campaign trail—raises unrealistic expectations about the savings that can be achieved through budget cuts. Most proposals fall far short of what is needed, and the demands we face on entitlement programs, the country’s evident need for public investment, and higher interest rates on the debt are all powerful forces pushing in the opposite direction.

Still, the three-pronged solution I’ve outlined is privately acknowledged by almost everyone I’ve encountered, whatever their public position, to be the only realistic approach. The longer we delay, the more painful the adjustment will be.

Our system has met greater challenges in the past. We’ve been through a civil war, two world wars, waves of immigration unseen by any other nation, and we’ve managed them all. It took strong political leadership, bipartisanship, negotiation, and compromise to thread our way through. That’s what getting our debt under control will require. We’d better get started.

Lee Hamilton is a Senior Advisor for the Indiana University Center on Representative Government; a Distinguished Scholar, IU School of Global and International Studies; and a Professor of Practice, IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs. He was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for 34 years.

Posted in Lee Hamilton ColumnComments (0)

Post Scripts NOTICE

The Cedar Springs Post welcomes letters of up to 350 words. The subject should be relevant to local readers, and the editor reserves the right to reject letters or edit for clarity, length, good taste, accuracy, and liability concerns. All submissions MUST be accompanied by full name, mailing address and daytime phone number. We use this information to verify the letter’s authenticity. We do not print anonymous letters, or acknowledge letters we do not use. Writers are limited to one letter per month. Email to news@cedarspringspost.com, or send to PostScripts, Cedar Springs Post, PO Box 370, Cedar Springs, MI 49319.

* We only print positive letters about candidates one week prior to the election.

Posted in Post ScriptsComments Off on Post Scripts NOTICE

Our positive change is a hot mess

 

When our new administration began nearly three years ago, I was open to change and trusted our board of education to choose a new leader for our kids, teachers and staff of Cedar Springs Public Schools. Initially, I felt this change in leadership could take our district to a new level. Shortly after, however, I began to notice changes in how our staff members interacted with and presented themselves to others. Previously confident and comfortable, our educators were now apprehensive and spoke with reservation. Programs intended to better prepare our kids for their futures (such as 6th grade advanced math) have been discontinued and no one seems to have any answers about why that occurred. Field trips which served to spark curiosity and critical thinking skills have been eliminated in favor of more technology. Instead of learning being on the incline, it has been on the decline.

Parent communication about the aforementioned changes has only come after inquiring, and in the administration’s efforts to “make it right” we are inundated with multiple emails from multiple sources all speaking about the same thing. Proactive communication has become reactive, and the staff I have spoken to feel they have been left to figure things out on their own with no support from administration.

The positive change I was excited to see nearly three years ago is better described as a hot mess. In order to fix the communication problem and drive academics forward, collaboration is imperative. Last week 97 educators made an impassioned plea in favor of unity and showed us that collectively they feel Ted Sabinas and Mistie Bowser will help reunite and move this district forward. This expression of unity, unlike any we’ve seen in recent years, should serve as a wakeup call for anyone still undecided. I urge you to vote Ted and Mistie into the two open seats on our board of education, and let the healing begin.

Fran and Drew Brandimore, Solon Township

Posted in Post ScriptsComments Off on Our positive change is a hot mess

Vote for a person of high integrity

 

I am writing to endorse Heidi Reed as a member of the Cedar Springs school board. I have had many business transactions with Heidi Reed over the past several years and always found her to be a person of high integrity. Heidi never makes a decision without researching all the pertinent facts.

Anything that Heidi Reed has an interest in becomes a passion with her.

Heidi understands the need for a well-educated population and would work tirelessly to improve the graduation rates in the district.

Heidi Reed would be an excellent addition to the school board and would be totally committed to serving the district.

Karen A. Carbonelli, Spencer Township

Associate Broker, Greenridge Realty

Posted in Post ScriptsComments Off on Vote for a person of high integrity

Preserve work being done on behalf of all students

 

There are 2 people who’ve been advocates for students with no other agenda: Joe Marckini and Heidi Reed. Vote for them on November 8 to preserve the work being done on behalf of all students in our district.

Joe Marckini has seen his two daughters graduate from Cedar Springs Public Schools and go on to be successful in college and beyond. Joe knows what a wonderful staff and community it takes to provide for a successful education for our students. As a sheet metal construction worker, Joe understands that all students need to be prepared for their future, whatever their interests may be. He’s a school board member who asks staff and students for their opinions and wants them to be a part of the educational process. Marckini is a school board member who wants to ensure that there is equality for all students. Incumbent Joe Marckini loves this district and this community. He is positive about the all the advancements of the district. He keeps a close eye on finances, policy and opportunities for students. For these reasons and more, I am voting for Joe Marckini, a man with integrity, passion and courage to lead the way.

Heidi (Zank) Reed is a Cedar Springs native who has advocated on behalf of all students, including special needs students. She has taken the time to cheer on and personally thank the excellent teachers and support staff of this great district. She is a believer in Cedar Springs Public Schools and has seen her own children and others thrive as students. As a long-time businesswoman in Cedar Springs, she has proven her service to others in this community. Heidi Reed has been actively engaged in school board meetings and advocacy for staff and students alike. She understands the role of the school board and how it will serve to lead the district forward. Please join me and so many others in voting for Heidi Reed, a community-centered, collaborative leader focused on kids first.

Grayson Claiborne, Solon Township

Posted in Post ScriptsComments Off on Preserve work being done on behalf of all students

Don’t let “We are teachers” letter fall on deaf ears

Don’t let “We are teachers” letter fall on deaf ears

The letter that appeared in the Post last week signed by 97 current and recently departed staff members gave me chills. The educators listed span across the district in all grade levels, all subjects and all buildings. Everyone in this community can find at least one educator on that list whose opinion they value. Uniting and coming forward to express their support of the two candidates they feel would best represent our staff and students was a real leap of faith. After two-plus years of virtual silence while the community has been begging for answers, the people we entrust our children with day-in and day-out have spoken. It was well written, entirely positive, and accurately displayed (with profound emotion) the love they have for our community, our schools and our children. This is a larger display of unity than any of us have seen in recent years, and it’s our responsibility to listen. Please read between the lines. They are loudly and clearly giving us what we’ve been asking for and we cannot let it fall on deaf ears. Vote Sabinas and Bowser on November 8, and unite this community in moving forward.

Tami Elliston, Algoma Township

Posted in Post ScriptsComments Off on Don’t let “We are teachers” letter fall on deaf ears

Candidates will not hide behind “policy”

 

The past couple of years I have become actively involved in our board meetings and learning about the choices we are making at the leadership level within our district. As a parent, I am concerned about my children’s education. I have watched many valuable programs that were once in existence disappear. They were great programs that worked to support our children like Habits of Mind, Red Hawk Kids Club, Cognitive Coaches and advanced math to name a few. We had become the best-kept secret in Kent County for education; Cedar Springs was leading the way. It makes me sad to see the shift. Changes take place every day; I am not afraid of change if done with good intent, respect, leadership and purpose.

As we prepare for the November 8 election, I want a positive change for our students, staff and community and that is why I am supporting Ted Sabinas and Mistie Bowser. They have the kid’s best interest at heart and are willing to lead and collaborate to make the best decisions for our district and our children. They both are collaborative, curious and discerning to ensure we make the best decisions for our district. They know what a good leader is and are committed to demonstrating those qualities as Board of Education members. They will be willing to listen at the board meetings and answer questions, they will be involved in the schools and they will not hide behind “policy.” I am looking forward to seeing positive leadership at the top again. I know that is what Ted and Mistie will bring to the school board and our community! Please vote yes to Sabinas and Bowser on November 8th.

Heidi Greenland, Nelson Township

Posted in Post ScriptsComments Off on Candidates will not hide behind “policy”

Support candidates who support direction of district

 

I am a lifelong resident of Cedar Springs who currently has two students attending Cedar Springs Public Schools. If you haven’t had a chance to read last week’s Post editorials, please do. Several community members felt the need to take the time to write editorials to share their stories about who they felt would best serve on the school board. Those letters speak loudly.

I am personally very thankful for the progress our district has made under Dr. Vanduyn’s direction; she has brought professionalism and fiscal accountability to our district. The programs and services she has implemented for our students have been many: a new health and dental clinic; a new teacher chosen K-12 math curriculum; Responsive Classrooms; Okay2Say program; and a school resource officer, just to name a few. She’s also helping our teachers. Just recently medical costs were lowered for the district with the same coverage for the teachers; professional development is now being appropriately tracked through the HR department, which helps the teachers with certifications; and budgeting has been moved to the buildings, which gives the teachers more of a voice in how funds are being used. She’s doing a great job for the sake of our students and our teachers. I urge you to vote for the two candidates who have voiced support for the current direction the district is headed—Marckini and Reed.

Kerri Hanes, Cedar Springs

Posted in Post ScriptsComments Off on Support candidates who support direction of district

Help and support teachers

 

To Citizens of Cedar Springs,

School leadership is the process of enlisting and guiding the talents, energies of teachers, students and parents toward achieving common educational goals. The number one job of the superintendent is to lead learning. How have the CS Board and Dr. VanDuyn demonstrated and supported clear learning goals? To accomplish these tasks, it is imperative to work with teachers and students. School performance benefits from a collaborative approach to leadership, which includes sharing findings, failures, and concerns. Relationship building with our educators is essential to effective educational leadership, and it is vital to acknowledge, and support the roles and contributions of all. Effective leadership will create an educational environment in which opportunities for positive change are present and supported throughout the organization. What collaboration has occurred? How have the BOE and superintendent connected with our teachers—the most vital group impacting student learning? Culture is the underground stream of norms, values, beliefs, traditions, and rituals that have built up over time as people work together, solve problems, and confront challenges. This set of informal expectations and values shapes how people think, feel, and act in schools. This highly enduring web of influence binds the school together and makes it special. It is up to school leaders—superintendents, school BOE, together with staff to help identify, shape, and maintain a strong positive student-focused school culture. Without a supportive culture, reforms will wither, and student learning will suffer. Many folks have shared that our student and staff cultures are struggling. This is the clear job of the Superintendent and the BOE. They set the tone, drive and create positive culture. What clear perimeters have been determined for supporting a change in CSPS culture? Based on the number of people—57 in the last year and the 97 signatures of staff who are supporting a clear change for Cedar Springs—it would seem obvious to all that our culture is broken. In honor of those that have left and the teachers that are indirectly asking for help and support, vote yes for Ted and Mistie on November 8th.

Jennifer Harper, Concerned Mom, 

Algoma Township

Posted in Post ScriptsComments Off on Help and support teachers