Rural Missouri - August 2013 - (Page 5)
Hart to Heart
A death sentence for affordable power
by Barry Hart
ast month, I used this column
to tell you how electric cooperatives work to protect your
interests in state and national
politics. No sooner were those words
printed than the type of issue I was
talking about reared its ugly head.
President Obama recently
announced a new federal mandate
intended to reduce greenhouse gas
emissions from power plants. He
wants to do this by instructing regulators to apply the Clean Air Act to carbon dioxide from existing plants.
While short on details, the president’s message amounted to a death
sentence for electricity generated with
coal — the most abundant and affordable fuel — and a climate tax imposed
on all American consumers.
There is no technology available
that will reduce carbon dioxide emissions. This plan will increase the cost
of electricity while doing nothing to
stem emissions of worse pollutants
coming from developing nations with
few, if any, regulations.
In the wake of the president’s
address, Jo Ann Emerson, CEO of the
National Rural Electric Cooperative
Association, had this to say: “If the
president doesn’t see the importance
of affordable electric power, the
nation’s electric co-ops will help bring
it to his attention.”
Missouri’s electric cooperatives are
especially concerned about this proposal because rural and low-income
Missourians already spend disproportionately more on
energy even though our
rates are some of the
lowest in the nation.
Anything that drastically increases the price
of electricity will have
a profound impact on
rural people, businesses
The president did
not take into consideration the $1 billion
Cooperative spent to
remove 90 percent of
emissions from power plants in Missouri alone, the investment made in
renewable resources and the emphasis
being placed on energy efficiency.
Your electric co-op made possible
four Missouri wind farms by purchasing their entire output. We are taking
power from a wind farm in Kansas
and have agreed to purchase more wind energy
Your electric co-op
also encourages energy
efficiency through the
Take Control & Save
program. During the life
of the efficient equipment added through
this effort, members
will save enough energy
to power a city the size
of Columbia for a year.
However, the bulk of
your electricity comes
“Anything that drastically increases the price of
electricity will have a profound impact on rural
people, businesses and communities.”
from coal. This creates concerns about
not only the cost, but also the supply
A few years ago, a cooperative
effort helped beat back costly capand-trade legislation. During that
battle, a coalition of Missouri electric
utilities studied the bill’s cost. Proponents of cap and trade said it would
add the price of a postage stamp to
bills. Our analysis showed it would be
one expensive stamp, amounting to
a 70-percent increase in the price you
pay for electricity.
When we asked you to join the
campaign to oppose cap and trade,
you responded by sending nearly
600,000 messages to Congress and we
again thank you for that. It made a
difference! A similar study is planned
for the president’s proposal. We will
let you — along with our elected officials — know what we find out.
Electric co-ops are all about keeping members’ electric bills affordable.
The president’s proposal will make
electricity more expensive, causing
families to sacrifice on top of all the
other uncertainty in our economy.
That’s a battle we plan to fight.
Hart is the executive vice president of
the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives.
The roadmap to student success
by Donald Claycomb
“School days, school days,
those good old golden rule days.
Reading and writing and arithmetic
taught to the tune of a hickory stick.”
ome of us are old enough to
remember that song. When I
first heard it, neither the farm
home I lived in nor the oneroom school I would attend had electricity. Perhaps life was simpler then.
However, from my perspective as
president of Linn State Technical College, communication and math skills
(today’s terminology for reading, writing and arithmetic) have never been
more important if we are to reach our
potential as a state and nation.
We should all be appalled that
about one-third of recent high school
graduates entering postsecondary
education must take remedial coursework. According to a major research
study, Missouri spent $59 million on
remediation in 2007-2008. The study
also estimated Missouri students lost
an additional $32 million in wages
because remediation delayed or prevented degree attainment.
This also translates into an emotional expense in the form of shattered dreams and lack of competitive-
ness when our young people are compared to their counterparts in other
parts of the world.
Today, some technical fields at the
one- or two-year level require a higher
level of math and communication
skills than do some baccalaureate
programs. For example, a mechanical
technician must be able to use sophisticated equipment to
diagnose a malfunction, repair it and then
explain both orally and
in writing exactly how
it was fixed.
What is being done
to remedy the situation? In 2010, the State
Board of Education
passed the Common
Core State Standards
(CCSS). The advantages
of CCSS include: fewer
and consistent learning
goals for all students;
a clear roadmap of academic expectations; relevance to the real world; and
rigorous, attainable standards.
The new Missouri Learning Standards will, over time, greatly reduce
the need for remedial coursework.
They are a state-led initiative to align
high school and college expectations,
so students and parents have a clear
understanding of what
is needed to be collegeand career-ready upon
high school graduation. Each local school
district develops a curriculum, and classroom
teachers decide how to
teach it. The new standards just set the bar
for the knowledge and
skills that are needed.
This levels the playing field for students.
Whether they enroll
here from Princeton or
“We should all be appalled that about onethird of recent high school graduates entering
postsecondary education must take remedial
Steele, they will have had the same
learning goals — goals that are relevant to the real world.
And because the Common Core
State Standards have been adopted by
46 other states, students who come
to us from outside Missouri, such as
military families, will also have the
knowledge needed to enter college or
We in education know we can only
do so much to prepare students for
success. We set policy, adopt standards, develop curricula and deliver
instruction. But the thirst for knowledge and skills begins in the home.
I’ve heard many students say they
are motivated by family members
who encourage them. Some say they
want opportunities their parents
never got. Successful implementation
of the Common Core State Standards
depends on a partnership between
parents and educators. The standards
create a clear path for learning, but it
is up to all of us to provide the support and motivation our students
need to lead meaningful, productive
Claycomb is president of Linn State
Technical College and a member of Three
Rivers Electric Co-op. In 2006, he was
inducted into the Missouri Cooperative
Hall of Fame.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - August 2013
Rural Missouri - August 2013
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Mining a lead-lined history
Out of the Way Eats
Hearth and Home
Rural Missouri - August 2013
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