Why Oil and Coal States Are Slashing Their Education Budgets

A crane-like machine drills into a field for oil

A pumpjack in Wyoming David Zalubowski / AP

Wyoming Governor Matt Mead signed legislation on Monday approving $34.5 million in cuts to the state’s K-12 education budget. The new spending plan also denies tax increases that would raise additional money for education, though it does establish a special committee to determine future modes of funding. Ultimately, the legislation seeks to address a shortfall in Wyoming’s education budget that could reach $1.8 billion by 2022.

“We’re going to need to think about funding education as a Chevy rather than a Cadillac in the future,” Jillian Balow, the state superintendent of public instruction, told The Casper Star-Tribune back in December.

Beyond overspending, there’s a larger explanation for why these budget cuts are necessary. The majority of Wyoming’s funding for public education comes from taxes and other revenue sources that depend on the state’s declining oil and coal industries.

In 2016, the U.S. Department of Energy reported that coal production had reached its lowest point in 35 years, forcing many coal companies to declare bankruptcy. Oil prices in the U.S. have also fallen from $99 a barrel in 2014 to $30 a barrel in January 2016.

As these industries struggle, states that depend on them like Wyoming, Alaska, and Oklahoma are forced to cut spending for education. According to data from 2011-2012, around 30 percent of Wyoming’s education spending comes from federal mineral royalties, while another 30 percent comes from property taxes often backed by these minerals.

A 2016 report from the Rockefeller Institute of Government identifies eight states whose economies have been severely impacted by the decline of oil and coal revenue in the U.S.: Alaska, Louisiana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, West Virginia, and Wyoming. In each of these states, oil, natural gas, and mining account for around 10 percent of GDP.

Last year, statewide budget cuts in Oklahoma led to a $109 million loss in funding for public schools. As a result, many Oklahoma school districts were forced shorten their school weeks to reduce costs.

Last June, Alaska Governor Bill Walker also unleashed a series of cuts to schools and universities, which totaled $150 million. In the same year, North Dakota was forced to cut $172 million in spending for K-12 education, but this loss was supplemented by a special reserve fund for elementary and high schools.

Although education isn’t the only public sector to suffer from widespread budget cuts, it has certainly felt the burden within these struggling economies. Indeed, the future of educational programs in states like Wyoming may depend on the fate of oil and coal industries in the U.S.

[“Source-.theatlantic”]

The First LG Laptops Are on Their Way to the U.S. Market

LG, the Korean electronics giant known for its smartphones, appliances and tablets is bringing its first laptops to the U.S. market.

The company announced the release of the Gram series of laptops in a press release recently.

The machines, named Gram to highlight their light weight, are available in 13-inch and 14-inch models.

The 13-inch model has 128GB of storage, 8GB memory and an Intel Core i5 processor. There are two different models of the LG Gram 14-inch laptop.

The first boasts 128 GB of storage, 8GB memory and an Intel Core i5 processor. The second features a more powerful Intel Core i7 processor, 256 GB of storage and 8 GB memory. All three laptops weigh 2.16 pounds — making them lighter than MacBook Air.

All Grams are crafted of strong and light carbon-lithium and carbon-magnesium materials. According to the company, these are the same materials used in racing cars and spacecrafts. The laptops are also about a half-inch in thickness.

The machines include Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity, extra ports for USB 3.0, as well as micro-SD and micro-USB slots. The laptops also feature a built-in HDMI port and advanced sound quality courtesy of their built-in Digital-to-Analog converters that immensely reduce distortion and noise, allowing users to experience hi-fi quality sound.

All three devices feature Full HD displays and boast 16:9 aspect ratio and 1920 x 1080 resolution.

The company also says that all Gram laptops have a battery life of up to 7.5 hours, so you can use your laptop all day on a single charge.

The Gram laptops include an instant boot feature that allows the Operating System to start up immediately while “Reader Mode” provides for optimal reading conditions by reducing the blue light and making it easier to read for long periods.

David VanderWaal, the vice president of marketing for LG Electronics USA, said in a statement included in the press release:

“LG has a long history of developing innovative consumer electronics products and has applied that expertise, along with its laptop success in other markets, to the LG Gram series in the U.S.

“We recognize this is an extremely competitive category, and are confident consumers will respond well to this product that combines powerful performance with lightweight design.”

The new devices all use Windows 10 and are now available .

The LG Gram 13, available in white, sells for $899. Both 14-inch models come in gold. The 14-inch Core i5 Gram laptop goes for $999, while its counterpart, the 14-inch Core i7 Gram, retails for $1,399

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

The First LG Laptops Are on Their Way to the U.S. Market

LG, the Korean electronics giant known for its smartphones, appliances and tablets is bringing its first laptops to the U.S. market.

The company announced the release of the Gram series of laptops in a press release recently.

The machines, named Gram to highlight their light weight, are available in 13-inch and 14-inch models.

The 13-inch model has 128GB of storage, 8GB memory and an Intel Core i5 processor. There are two different models of the LG Gram 14-inch laptop.

The first boasts 128 GB of storage, 8GB memory and an Intel Core i5 processor. The second features a more powerful Intel Core i7 processor, 256 GB of storage and 8 GB memory. All three laptops weigh 2.16 pounds — making them lighter than MacBook Air.

All Grams are crafted of strong and light carbon-lithium and carbon-magnesium materials. According to the company, these are the same materials used in racing cars and spacecrafts. The laptops are also about a half-inch in thickness.

The machines include Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity, extra ports for USB 3.0, as well as micro-SD and micro-USB slots. The laptops also feature a built-in HDMI port and advanced sound quality courtesy of their built-in Digital-to-Analog converters that immensely reduce distortion and noise, allowing users to experience hi-fi quality sound.

All three devices feature Full HD displays and boast 16:9 aspect ratio and 1920 x 1080 resolution.

The company also says that all Gram laptops have a battery life of up to 7.5 hours, so you can use your laptop all day on a single charge.

The Gram laptops include an instant boot feature that allows the Operating System to start up immediately while “Reader Mode” provides for optimal reading conditions by reducing the blue light and making it easier to read for long periods.

David VanderWaal, the vice president of marketing for LG Electronics USA, said in a statement included in the press release:

“LG has a long history of developing innovative consumer electronics products and has applied that expertise, along with its laptop success in other markets, to the LG Gram series in the U.S.

“We recognize this is an extremely competitive category, and are confident consumers will respond well to this product that combines powerful performance with lightweight design.”

The new devices all use Windows 10 and are now available .

The LG Gram 13, available in white, sells for $899. Both 14-inch models come in gold. The 14-inch Core i5 Gram laptop goes for $999, while its counterpart, the 14-inch Core i7 Gram, retails for $1,399.

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

Mutual Investment is Required in “It’s Their Job, But It’s Your Career”

Robert Segall, author of the new book It’s Their Job But It’s Your Career: The Underground Guide to Career Success, is on a mission.

A veteran human resources executive and founder of human resources firm Career Underground, Segall sent me a review copy and explained his inspiration for the career guide for professionals. He noted that the contract between employee and employer is broken. That viewpoint on the implicit employment contract resounds throughout Segall’s prescription for fixing today’s career ailments. Your employer has a responsibility to you, but so do you for achieving your career.

Being good at your job does not mean you are good at your career. In fact, early on in the book, Segall lists ten reasons why we don’t talk about career, as well as an example of how our collective devaluation of career direction can lead to organizational direction.

He offers an account of human resources using lower salaries because people are seen as a cost. He cautions:

“When we become more value to ourselves, we become more valuable to our employers as well. It’s a mistake to think that we are simply more expensive. Instead, we must remember that our value comes from our effect on the workplace and not just the work product….We have failed to recognize this perspective of career as a mutual investment…..”

I tried to imagine how this book best serves its intended audience. The solutions describe enterprise-level environments in general, but they can fit smaller firms more susceptible to keeping employees motivated when advancement opportunities vary wildly. The ideas can be a starting point to how to develop employees to imagine their careers, even if it may mean moving forward from a firm.

That kind of move in the right context can broaden a network for a smaller firm; a win-win aspect. That perspective permeates the ideas Segall advocates. The end result is a bright tone in between the talks about controlling your career, such as this passage:

“We’re in a world filled with people who have no interest in conflict with one another and would rather agree on nearly everything of substance and matter. We seek to be respected, to be able to come together (or apart) as we please. We want our future world to live as brightly as the golden ages of the past…. This globally integrated world creates opportunities for each of us to connect and do business, if only we have the creativity and initiative to meet the opportunity.”

That win-win perspective enhances any encouragement in taking charge of your networking and skill development:

“…if people around us are generally good and want to help us if they can, then it is our responsibility to engage with them as part of our career development.”

The cost of lost engagement can be high. Segall notes what can result from a dysfunctional process in an organization, such as the cost of a poor recruitment program:

“The dysfunctional employer will have to explain to its remaining workforce why it can’t keep its best talent in its ranks, or if it buries its head in the sand and ignores the absence of its key personnel, the staff will be well aware of the corporate dysfunction and the exit trend will continue.”

I can imagine someone giving this book to an employee to show some ideas to what to expect from career management in general. Or it can be given as an inspiration on what a good workplace should promise to its workforce.

Budding entrepreneurs may also find inspiration in the text. As a matter of fact, I recall a conversation with an interested professional that he felt uncomfortable charging someone for his services – comments from Segall can positively inspire entrepreneurs to get past such psychological hang ups:

“It doesn’t matter what you do for a living. You have skills to offer, and they are part of a solution. The solution you choose to work on shows where your passions lie.”

Entrepreneurs can combine this thought with those from Adrienne Graham’s excellent No You Can’t Pick My Brain.

Regardless of the reason, you should read this book to learn why win-win thinking can enhance and bring value to your teams.

[“source-smallbiztrends”]