Sports are at their best when they teach us life lessons. I’m not a big baseball fan, but I happened to be at the game when Rick Ankiel’s life imploded. Since then, he’s been down many roads – and has never quit. The P-D’s Bernie Miklasz pens an ode to Ankiel’s long journey:
Ankiel had every reason to give up, every reason to crawl away into a private life, removed from the pressure and the scrutiny and the cruelty of a star-crossed career. He had every reason to want to escape the intense media attention — the paint-by-numbers profiles of a fallen star — and the taunting of mean-spirited fans. He had every reason to give in to the turmoil, the crises of confidence, the injuries and the insults.
He’s still here. The game cannot destroy him. He’s still swinging with fervor, and without asking for sympathy. He was born to be a ballplayer, and every day in the big leagues represents another triumph. He lost the ability to pitch. He lost the consistent home-run swing.
Ankiel, however, never lost himself. He’s better than “The Natural.” That was a movie. This is a real human being with fiber and flaws who overcame a pitiless, never-ending cycle of adversity. In this season of 2013, each at-bat is a happy ending.
To put it another way, Rick Ankiel is the living embodiment of Teddy Roosevelt’s “Man in the Arena.” Ignoring his critics and striving for the sake of striving when almost anyone else would have just quit – and no one would have blamed him.
The Senate truly agreed and finally passed Senate Bill 125 this morning to send the education reform measure to Gov. Nixon’s desk. The final version of the bill included the following measures:
1. Equality for St. Louis – The bill allows St. Louis schools to terminate teachers for “incompetency,” which is already the case in the rest of the state.
2. Early and Flexible Intervention in Struggling School Districts – Colloquially referred to as the “Kansas City bill,” this measure would allow the State Board of Education to intervene immediately in school districts deemed unaccredited, and also give the state board the flexibility to leave the local board in place under terms set by the state board. The bill sets a back-stop date of three years so that if a local district is still unaccredited after three years, the state board must undertake a full intervention.
3. MSIP-5 Public Engagement - Sen. Maria Chapelle-Nadal added an amendment in the Senate requiring the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to do a more thorough job of eliciting public input on the new scoring guide from MSIP-5, the new school assessment program the department is in the process of implementing. This is a good government measure which will increase public input.
4. MSIP-5 Scores for Students from Lapsed and Broken-Up Districts – At the request of Sen. Chappelle-Nadal, I added an amendment in the House which requires DESE to give receiving school districts a three-year waiting period before they have to count the test scores of students moving from broken-up districts into the receiving districts. This amendment makes sense so that the receiving districts are not penalized for taking on new students from struggling schools.
In my opinion, this is the most significant education legislation passed by the General Assembly since the re-write of the foundation formula in 2005. I’m hopeful that Gov. Nixon will sign it quickly.
The House is on hour three of discussion on SB 83, an act relating to “political subdivisions.” The bill had 100 amendments dropped on it – and covered all of the following topics:
- burn bans
- luxury boxes
- tax credits
- the Border War
- building codes
- senior citizens
- international advertising
- paperless documents
- driver’s licenses
- data centers
- new homes
- emergency medical services
- the Internet
- religious freedom
- second-hand clothing, and
- food taxes
Bob Priddy, a living legend in the Capitol receives an award for his work documenting the historic art of our Missouri Capitol.
Senator Ron Richard speaks on the 100 year anniversary of the groundbreaking of the Missouri State Capitol. The timing is fortuitous as the Missouri Senate will soon consider $50 million in appropriations for much needed and long overdue repairs to the building.
Today was one of the best days in a long time for Jefferson City in the General Assembly. By a vote of 131 to 26, the Missouri House approved an amendment to a budget bill to invest $50 million for long-delayed upkeep of the Missouri State Capitol and $38 million for construction of a new state office building on the grounds of the old state penitentiary.
I was pleased to speak in favor and vote for the amendment, and look forward to progress in Jefferson City.
In debate late Wednesday night I offered an amendment to HB 698 which would spur re-development at the old Missouri State Penitentiary in downtown Jefferson City. My amendment would require the state of Missouri to sell at least 70 percent of the land and provide state tax credits to spur investment in the area.
As our state capitol, every Missourian has an interest in spurring economic development in downtown Jefferson City. Many thanks to Reps. Mike Bernskoetter, Jeannie Riddle, and Chris Kelly for the comments in favor of the amendment.
HCS for HB 700
The link above is to the House Committee Substitute for HB 700 to be considered tomorrow night.