Centennial Honors College

Think Pieces

Policy Proposal to Correct State of Illinois Deficit by Caleb Markey
Policy Proposal to Address Human Trafficking by Lindsey Posmanick
Supervisor's Perception of Music Therapy by Andrew Gerske
Policy Proposal to Improve Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program by Elizabeth Etta

Policy Proposal to Correct State of Illinois Deficit by Caleb Markey

 To: John E. Bradley Office Held: Chairperson, Revenue and Finance Committee, Illinois General Assembly

From: Caleb Markey

Problem Statement

Faced with the nation's worst credit rating, the State of Illinois risks complete insolvency if immediate action is not taken to reduce the state's debt obligations. Currently, Illinois bonds pay 1.45 percentage points in interest (1). The state's current unfunded liabilities are around 9 billion dollars—depriving vital programs of necessary funding (2). As of October 2012, Illinois' debt totaled $271 billion (3). The State is lacking enough revenue to cover its expenses, but it is difficult to find new sources of revenue when 8.7% of Illinois residents were unemployed as of December 2012 (4). Moreover, every job that moves across Illinois' borders is another salary taken from Illinois' tax base.

Proposed Solution

Comprehensive reform must take place to remedy Illinois' financial situation. The solution must consist of numerous "micro-proposals" that contribute to the overall goal of financial solvency. Modeled after Governor Quinn's Small Business Job Creation Tax Credit, my proposal includes the tax credit of $2,500 for every new employee hired by a small business through June 30, 2016 (5). In addition, my proposal seeks to expand and refocus Governor Quinn's plan by offering a $1,000 tax credit to all businesses per employee. The minimum standard salary for eligibility of the new tax credit will be $30,000. Lost revenue can be offset by increased individual income tax revenue resulting from both new jobs and salary increases. This plan removes a significant prejudice against corporate jobs and high capacity manufacturing. The only prejudice that exists under my plan is that small businesses receive a $2,500 tax credit per new employee (current law) and all other businesses receive $1,000 per new employee (additional law). For existing employees, a $1,000 tax credit is given regardless of the employer's size. The economic impact of the plan is twofold. First, it offsets the costs of employment to businesses by allowing them to reduce their state tax liability; therefore, expansion of a company's workforce is less expensive. Second, it provides incentives to Illinois corporations to keep factories and jobs within the state rather than relocating—helping the state maintain its current tax base.

Major Obstacles/Implementation Challenges

Opponents of the plan could argue that the tax credit would result in greatly reduced revenue for the State. While this may be true initially, over the long run, the State will protect revenue. Over the last decade, Illinois ranked second highest in domestic migration loss (6). With every lost taxpayer is the loss of individual income tax revenue. If Illinois wants to save revenue, it has to save jobs. It is critical that Illinois retain and increase employment within the state. Certainly, one way to keep businesses and employers within the state is to reduce their tax burden, however, at the same time, Illinois cannot afford to bring in reduced revenue. My proposal solves this dilemma by allowing employers tax savings that are directly correlated to employment levels within the state. The employment tax credit provides an incentive for Illinois companies to keep their employees in Illinois. Additionally, it provides incentives for new job creation and thus new revenue. The plan does not reduce tax rates, rather it provides a credit to companies who employee people. It should gain the support of both parties as it creates lower taxes (Republican favored), while also subsidizing the cost of employment and creating motivation for employers to increase worker pay (Democrat favored). In short, this tax credit meets the ideological preferences of both parties and creates a pro-growth environment that favors future revenue for the Illinois.


1. Reeder, Scott. "Quinn owns 11 of Illinois' 20 credit downgrades." Illinois Policy Institute. 29 Jan 2013. Web. 30 Jan 2013.

2. Dabrowksi, Ted. "Without real reforms, Illinois' credit downgrades will just keep coming." Illinois Policy Institute. 28 Jan 2013. Web. 29 Jan 2013.

3. "Illinois' state debt climbs to $21,607 per person." Chicago Tribune. 02 Oct 2012. Web. 18 Jan 2013.

4. "Economy at a Glance." Bureau of Labor Statistics. United States Department of Labor, 1 Feb 2013. Web. 1 Feb 2013. <http://www.bls.gov/eag/eag.il.htm>.

5. Quinn, Pat. "JobsTaxCredit.Illinois.Gov." State of Illinois. Web. 30 Jan 2013.

6. Cox, Wendell. "New Census Data Reaffirms Dominance of the South ." Newgeography. 21 Dec 2012. Web. 30 Jan 2013.


 Policy Proposal to Address Human Trafficking by Lindsey Posmanick

 To: Honorable Patrick Leahy

Office Held: United States Senator, Chairman Senate Judiciary Committee (D, Vermont)

Issue: Human Trafficking, Ethical Consumerism, and Human Rights Consumer Labeling

Problem Statement:

Slavery exists today. It is one of the greatest travesties facing our world. An estimated 2.5 million people are in some form of forced labor, including an estimated 1.2 million children trafficked per year (UN.GIFT). This violation of human rights can be found in every country, including the United States. Hillary Clinton proposes that involuntary servitude be combated through the process of the 'four P's', Prevention, Protection, Prosecution, and Partnership (Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons).

The United States has taken considerable steps to eliminate the use of child and forced labor through legislation such as the, "Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000," the creation of the Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking, and the effective Three Level Tier System. Unfortunately, the expansion of globalization and the desire to obtain materials at a low cost has enhanced the exploitation of cheap labor at a high cost for human integrity. It has paved the way for complex intersections between legal business operations and illegal human trafficking. After contacting the Federal Trade Commission, Food and Drug Administration, and the Office of Global Women's Issues, I confirmed there is no federal requirement for corporations to provide consumers with guarantees that slave labor or human trafficking was not used at any level of its supply chains. The absence of effective regulation violates both human rights and the consumer's right to know.

Proposed Solution:

Senator Leahy, your effort to expand education on identifying victims to law enforcement in, "The Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2011" is commendable. Your work is essential in eliminating involuntary servitude, but it is equally necessary to educate consumers through a Human Rights Consumer Labeling (HRCL) system.

The 2011 Trafficking in Persons Report highlights that the most effective solution to ending forced labor practices is through, "The collaboration of governments, corporations, and civil society"(Trafficking in Persons Report, 22). On January 1, 2012, California initiated the first consumer empowerment law requiring corporations that gross over one billion dollars annually to disclose information to consumers on whatever efforts they have undertaken to eradicate modern day slavery from their supply chains. This measure has been embraced by human rights advocates and many of the businesses themselves. If the United States Congress followed suit, a corporate accountability law would be key to eliminating modern-day slavery.

A tier system needs to be designed to rate corporations for meeting a minimum standard of human rights practices. Businesses that fall into a higher tier will be rewarded by having the opportunity to use HRCL on their products, much like organic or dolphin free labels. Corporations that make substantial efforts to eradicate slavery at every level of production will be commended through a rise in profit, while companies who lack social justice prerogatives may experience a drop in sales.

Major Obstacles/Implementation Challenges:

During passage of, "The California Transparency of Supply Chains Act of 2010," the bill was opposed by multiple business trade organizations. Their arguments claimed the measure did not specify issues such as third-party verification of product supply chain, independent unannounced audits and certification of raw materials. However, the bill did not require additional research. It merely required companies to make information regarding any efforts to not use forced labor available to consumers (Leibert, 2).

It is equally important to recognize that this measure may result in a small amount of negative public opinion. Funding for new programs is extremely controversial and unpopular at this time. It would be advisable to utilize existing offices for research and website development such as the Food and Drug Administration, the Federal Trade Commission, or an office under the Secretary of State.

Additionally, national regulation of businesses could prove to be extremely difficult. It may be fundamentally impossible to impose regulations on corporations in a globalized economy.

Works Cited

California. Chief Counsel. Assembly Committee on Judiciary. Bill Analysis of The California Transparency in Supply Chains Act of 2010: New Information to Aid Consumer Purchasing Decisions. By Drew R. Liebert. June 2010. Web. Jan. 2012. <http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/09-10/bill/sen/sb_0651-0700/sb_657_cfa_20100628_112914_asm_comm.html>.

Clinton, Hillary R. "Four "Ps": Prevention, Protection, Prosecution, Partnerships." U.S. Department of State. Offce to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons. Web. Dec. 2011. <http://www.state.gov/j/tip/4p/index.htm>.

United Nations. International Labour Office. Human Trafficking: The Facts. Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking, 2007. Web. Dec. 2011. <http://www.unglobalcompact.org/docs/issues_doc/labour/Forced_labour/HUMAN_TRAFFICKING_-_THE_FACTS_-_final.pdf>.

United Nations. Office on Drugs and Crime. United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking HUB. Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking. Web. Jan. 2012. <http://ungift.org/knowledgehub/en/stories/december2011/california-senate-bill.html>.

United States. Cong. Senate. Committee on the Judiciary. Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2011. By Patrick Leahy. 112th Cong., 96th sess. S. Rept. 1301. The Library of Congress Thomas Search. Web. Dec. 2011.

United States of America. Department of State. Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons. Trafficking in Persons Report. By Hillary R. Clinton and Luis CdeBaca. June 2011. Web. Dec. 2011.

United States. Trafficking in Persons: U.S. Policy and Issues for Congress. By Clare M. Ribando. Federation of American Scientists. Congressional Research Service Reports, 20 June 2004. Web. 16 Dec. 2011. <http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/index.html>.

United States. Trafficking in Women and Children: the US and International Response. By Francis T. Miko and Grace (Jea-Hyun) Park. Foreign Press Centers. Congressional Research Service Reports, 20 June 2002. Web. 16 Dec. 2011. <http://fpc.state.gov/c18185.htm>.

United States. Federation for American Immigration Reform. Federation of American Scientists. 4 Apr. 2000. Web. 10 Dec. 2011. <http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/>.

Congress Smith Website. Cong. Smith Chairs Briefing on Child Trafficking Report. Congressman Chris Smith. The Library of Congress, 25 July 2009. Web. 9 Dec. 2011. <http://chrissmith.house.gov>.

United States. Cong. THOMAS (Library of Congress). 106 Cong. Cong H.R. 3244. Web. 1 Nov. 2011. <http://thomas.loc.gov>.

United States. Cong. House. 106 Cong. HR H.R. 3244. Web. 1 Oct. 2011.

United States. Cong. 106th Cong. Cong P.L.106-386. Web. 1 Oct. 2011.

Supervisor's Perception of Music Therapy: On-Site Fieldwork Supervisor's Perception of the Function of Music Therapy by Andrew Gerske


Though practitioners from around the globe define music therapy, limited consensus exists among the definitions (Bruscia, 1998). The American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) defined music therapy as "the clinical and evidenced-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program" (AMTA, 2013). One of the main goals of AMTA is to provide an individual treatment plan for the clients relying upon client's music preferences as a guide. Music therapists employ many clinical techniques including such interventions as song choice, song improvisation, song discussion, song dedication, song narrative, creation of legacies, and song writing (Clement- Cortés, 2010), in addition to playing musical instruments in an improvisatory or structured way in order to achieve clinically related goals. Music therapists provide services to address individualized goals with varied persons in need including children with developmental and learning disabilities (Kaplan & Steele, 2005; Waterman, 2000), adolescents, and adults with mental health needs. Music therapists also help persons with Alzheimer's disease, other aging related conditions, substance abuse problems, brain injuries (Koelsh, Offermanns, & Franzke, 2010), and acute and chronic pain including mothers in labor and persons with physical disabilities. As a result of this diversity in clinical practice, music therapists collaborate with many other non-music therapy professionals.

Music therapy researchers (Darsie, 2009; Hillmer, 2007; Ropp, Caldwell, Dixon, Angell, & Vogt, 2006; Silverman & Chaput, 2011) have investigated healthcare and special education professionals' perceptions of music therapy through surveys. Though the number of published studies examining the perceptions of music therapy professionals are limited (Silverman & Chaput, 2011), researchers continue to reinforce how important it is for other team members to understand music therapy (Darsie, 2009) and have documented that personal experience with music therapy impacted the understanding of the field. (Ropp et al., 2006).

The purpose of this study was to determine how on-site music therapy practicum supervisors define and perceive the functions of music therapy.


Respondents (N=9) were on-site employees who supervised music therapy fieldwork students who provided services at their agency. These on-site supervisors hosted students from the same regional Midwestern University. Supervisors worked at their respective agencies from 11 months to 28 years with a mean of 15.5 years. Respondents reported that music therapy had been provided at these agencies from 1 year to 20 years with a mean of 8.3 years.

A 12 question open-ended survey was created and posted on the website kwiksurveys.com – see appendix. After receiving Institutional Review Board approval, data collection began. An invitation to 14 participants was sent through a personal email account. A reminder email was sent 3 days prior to closing the survey.

Once all surveys were collected, qualitative data analysis began. Words and phrases were coded and data immersion included a week of rereading and coding. Peer debriefing with a faculty mentor further solidified the findings.


Table 1 includes the facility type, respondent's role, employee's hire, and length of provided music therapy services. The themes identified through qualitative analysis are discussed below.

An Understanding of Purpose

It became evident that on-site supervisors understood the purpose of music therapy by their use of clinical terms to describe music therapy. Respondent 9 wrote that music therapy was "using music to help improve or maintain various health, emotional or physical challenges people may be experiencing." While respondent 5 wrote that music therapy was "physical, cognitive, and spiritual therapy conducted by hearing or playing music." From these definitions, it seems evident that on-site supervisors have a clear understanding of music therapy. Respondent 6 further affirmed this understanding of purpose by writing, "It allow them to focus on a positive coping skill and redirect their behavior." Supervisors stated the many dimensions of purpose that are accomplished during music therapy session including mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing.

Defining Clinical Objectives

In addition to demonstrating an understanding of the definition of music therapy, one respondent included specific clinical objectives in their discussion of music therapy's function. For example Respondent 3 wrote, "They (children in special education) take turns, use language skills, learn colors, shapes, names of objects, counting and rhythms, etc." This response articulated several of the clinical objectives typically addressed during music therapy. Respondent 9 added to this theme by writing "it provides socialization, direction following, and relaxation." These become opportunities for individuals to grow on a personal and social level by working on communication skills, academic skills and self-care.

Increased Client Participation

Respondents noted that clients participated and engaged themselves in music therapy more than in other activities or therapeutic services. Respondent 7 wrote, "I noticed that some of our residents...respond well to music by tapping their toes or mouthing the words of a songs." Respondent 2 also reinforced the idea of participation by writing, " Participants that usually don't participate in other activities do (participate in music)." It is clear that participation is very important to on-site supervisors because they can see differences in clients. On-site supervisors also can readily see who is engaged and not engaged in a session.

On-site supervisors reported that increased client participation allows clients to develop social interaction skills. For example, Respondent 9 wrote that music therapy "helped some people to be more outgoing and have less behaviors." Another specific example comes from Respondent 3 who wrote, "A student who did not like to join us on the rug for group activities would come over to participate with peers in music and movements."

Having a Positive Experience

Respondents indicated that music therapy was a positive experience for many of their clients. They reported that clients seemed to really enjoy music therapy services. On-site supervisors wrote about how music therapy positively impacted clients' feelings and self-worth. Respondent 3 indicated that music therapy seemed "...to help them become successful and feel good about themselves."


Overall, on-site supervisors demonstrated a clear understanding of the definition of music therapy and its benefits to their clients regardless of the setting where music therapy was provided. Perhaps this understanding is a result of the ongoing relationship with music therapy students and faculty, and the opportunity to witness numerous sessions. Surveying additional on-site supervisors as well as supervisors affiliated with other universities could further this line of research.


American Music Therapy Association (AMTA). (2013). Retrieved on 2013 from http://www.musictherapy.org/

Brusica, K. (1998). Defining music therapy. (2nd ed.). Gilsum, NH: Barcelona Publishers.

Clements-Cortés, A. (2010). The role of music therapy in facilitating relationship completion in end-of-life care. Canadian Journal of Music Therapy, 16(1), 123-147.

Darsie, E. (2009). Interdisciplinary team members' perception of the role of music therapy in a pediatric outpatient clinic. Music Therapy Perspectives, 27(1), 48-54.

Hillmer, M. (2007). Survey of nurses' attitudes and perceptions toward music therapy in the hospital setting. Available from ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, UMI: 1450384

Kaplan, R.S., & Steele, A. L. (2005). An analysis of music therapy program goals and outcomes for clients with diagnoses on the autism spectrum. Journal of Music Therapy, 42(1), 2-19.

Koelsch, S., Offermanns, K., & Franzke, P. (2010). Music in the treatment of affective disorders: An exploratory investigation of a new method for music therapeutic research. Music Perception, 27 (4), 307-316

Ropp, C. R., Caldwell, J.E., Dixon, A.M., Angell, M.E., & Vogt, W.P. (2006). Special education administrators' perceptions of music therapy in special education programs. Music Therapy Perspectives, 29(1), 87-93.

Silverman, M., & Chaput, J. (2011) The effect of a music therapy in-service on perceptions of oncology nursing staff. Music Therapy Perspectives, 29(1), 74-77.

Waterman, J. E. (2000). A survey of perceptions and attitudes of parents and caregivers toward   music as a therapeutic intervention used to enhance total development of young children with special needs. Available from ProQuest Dissertations and Theses. UMI 1398770



1. Describe the persons who receive services at your agency, for example, children with special needs or older adults with dementia. Please don't name the facility to protect your anonymity.

2. What is your job title or role within the agency?

3. How long have you worked with this agency or facility?

4. To your best recollection, how long have music therapy students been coming to this agency for fieldwork or experiences?

5. How would you define music therapy?

6. What do you notice during music therapy sessions?

7. How do clients typically respond to music therapy?

8. Describe the benefits of music therapy for the persons who receive services with this agency.

9. Describe an event where you saw the benefits of music therapy.

10. What do you feel music therapy tries to accomplish?

11. How has music therapy impacted your clients and your agency?

12. What would you change about music therapy services with this agency?


Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Work Requirements by Elizabeth Etta

Problem Statement:

The current economic and social climate of the United States is dismal. With 46.2 million individuals living in poverty and job growth at a minimal level, it is imperative that we mobilize this group to help revive our nation1. Measures must be taken to ensure that we revive our communities and quality of life. To increase economic mobility within our nation, I propose the reform of the current work requirements for the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program. Currently, the work requirements for the program are largely prohibitive; emphasis on hours of work rather than substance of the position for potential mobility has been ignored, the cash benefit amount is not contingent to work activity when given in one monthly allotment, and many states are unclear with their local offices about what constitutes meaningful education training2. With a focus on in-demand career training and the utilization of modern technological achievements such as social networking software, the TANF program could have the potential to foster the new American workforce.

Proposed Solution:

My proposal would provide job training for technologically oriented careers in place of existing work requirements. This plan would be a collaboration with local colleges, while remaining aware of the cognitive ability of each individual, Each recipient’s monthly benefit amount would remain unchanged, however, the recipient would receive their benefit bi-weekly as pay for training.

By utilizing current technological advancements such as the internet and social networking applications, online classes would be offered with emphasis on the careers in demand in the medical, scientific, and communication fields. Under the current program, the expenditure for work support and other services amount to 9.4% and 38.3% of each state’s $16.5 billion annual block grant, respectively. With this funding, roughly $7.9 billion, each state would subsidize training courses at local community colleges within a mutually agreed upon timeline.

Though TANF funds allocate 16.6% of each block grant to child care, providing the option of online classes would eliminate the need to arrange child care and transportation. Additionally, by ending work requirements in favor of guided job training, low skilled jobs will be available to young workers seeking experience while training parents to become the quality control specialists, engineers, and scientists of the future.

Major Obstacles/Implementation Challenges

Major obstacles to implement this program are state compliance and community college class availability. Each state's block grant includes a 6.6% fund allocation for administrative costs; this allotment would have to be expanded to hire more facilitators at the cost of other programs. Though small, the externalities would more than likely result in a decrease in child care funding or an increased work load for existing employees. Additionally, collaboration with community colleges to increase enrollment would prove costly in the purchase and maintenance of the servers required for the increased online traffic.