Rural Missouri - August 2013 - (Page 5)

Hart to Heart A death sentence for affordable power L by Barry Hart bhart@amec.coop 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 and communities. The president did not take into consideration the $1 billion Associated Electric 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 from Oklahoma. 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.” Barry Hart from coal. This creates concerns about not only the cost, but also the supply of electricity. 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. Guest Column The roadmap to student success by Donald Claycomb info@ruralmissouri.coop “School days, school days, those good old golden rule days. Reading and writing and arithmetic taught to the tune of a hickory stick.” S 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 coursework.” Donald Claycomb AUGUST 2013 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 career. 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 lives. 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. 5

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - August 2013

Rural Missouri - August 2013
Table of Contents
Comments
Columns
Hideout heaven
Mining a lead-lined history
Adrenaline adventures
Outdoors
Out of the Way Eats
High-flying fun
Hearth and Home
Blood-stained dawn
Swarm chasers
Around Missouri
Marketplace
Neighbors
Just4Kids

Rural Missouri - August 2013

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