Had three very informative interim studies this week. The first was on integrating state workforce development under one one-stop-shop entity. Several states, including Texas and Florida, have done this and based on testimony during the study it has performed better for the citizens of those states who are seeking employment or training for employment.

On Tuesday we did two education studies. The first study was on the ever growing, out of control, problem of bullying in our schools. We had very emotional testimony from students and parents from all over the state and we discussed various means of combating a situation that is spiraling for more and more children every year. It is obvious that the hate that boils up from social media is a major contributor to this problem, and I want to keep the dialogue moving forward on how we, as adults and leaders for all our children, can combat this tragedy. I will post more information as well as some media in the coming days and weeks on this issue.

Tuesday afternoon we looked at Innovation in Education, highlighting some very impressive programs around the state that are working very hard to give the absolute best to all the children in our schools in the state. We heard from public schools, both traditional and charter, and private schools that took the time to tell those there and the state about the very impressive programs they are spearheading on behalf of their kids. We had a number of other schools that wanted to participate, but in the interest of time had to limit the discussion, but I must say that I am very encouraged by all the amazing work being done for students around the state.

In conclusion for now, there is absolutely no doubt that bullying came out as the number one concern we should all be looking at inside the walls of our schools. I did not realize the disturbing number of both suicide attempts and successful suicides among our children. I did know the ever increasing role social media is playing in this horrific problem, but did not completely understand how significant its impact has been. I do know without a doubt that it is up to us, as adults and leaders, to show our young people how to treat others, whether online or in person, and how honesty and love can go so much further in leading others to these same ends. Please stay tuned as we continue to study and follow this issue until we can say we have turned this horrible situation around.

Here is a link to the impressive PowerPoint by 4-H students Abbey Siglin and Jessica Carter:


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