Transparency and College Choice

December 2, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comments Off 

Bridget Terry Long, a professor of education and economics at Harvard, argues that we should give prospective college students and their families better information on such matters as loan burdens, graduation rates, average class size, average aid package,  salaries earned and positions held by recent graduates, and alumni satisfaction.

This surfeit of information can end up overwhelming rather than enlightening students who — particularly if they come from low-income backgrounds and are first-generation college-goers — are some of the least equipped to navigate the complex choices facing them, she says. As a result, these students can find themselves selecting a college that is too expensive and cannot deliver on its promises. “When things are complicated, people often make erratic decisions or the easiest decisions, which might not be the best decisions,” said Long. In her paper, she cites a 2009 study by Public Agenda and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that suggested that two-thirds of college dropouts chose a college on the basis of location.

During Wednesday’s call, Long offered an example of how she hoped her proposal would help vulnerable and poorly informed future students. She said such a student might be inclined to attend a nearby institution that floods the airwaves and plasters local billboards with advertisements with lofty promises, but has a 10 percent graduation rate. Another institution a half-mile away that boasts a rate of 80 percent would be a better choice, she said. At the same time, Long stresses in her paper that she is not singling out for-profit institutions, some of which have come under fire for the sorts of practices she described during the phone call. “This proposal is not targeted at any subset of educational institutions,” she writes. “Competition and increased public scrutiny is likely to increase outcomes across all institutions by putting pressure on poor institutions to do a better job.”

Long proposes that the federal government, which already collects many of the data, is best suited to function as a clearinghouse for the information she wants made available. It would enact what she envisions as a three-step process. The first would hook potential students — in partnership with other government agencies, and social service and employment organizations — with a snapshot of colleges, their true cost, and the success of their students. The second step would provide a more extensive array of information and include a list of colleges that meet various criteria. The third would allow students to customize their search even further to help make a decision.

I haven’t seen her study and have no idea what all this would cost, let alone whether it would achieve its intended goals.  But I can testify that I had no idea what I was doing when I was making college choices a quarter century ago, and was heavily influenced by geographic proximity and cost.




Outside the Beltway

Health Law Preserving Choice In Medicare Advantage…For Now

November 30, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

One of the most common Republican narratives about the new health care reform law argued that eliminating the subsidy to private insurers participating in Medicare Advantage would force insurers to stop offering coverage, causing 10 million seniors to lose their Medicare benefits. Throughout the debate, Republicans introduced numerous amendments and motions instructing Congress to remove the $ 136 billion in cuts to the Medicare Advantage program. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) even urged seniors to rip up their AARP cards to protest the organization’s support for the bill. But yesterday, the Washington Post’s Amy Goldstein has yet another article pointing out that the GOP’s fear were overstated — “Premiums have not jumped substantially, and benefits have not tended to erode”:

Insurers’ premiums for Medicare customers are, on average, rising by a smaller amount for 2011 than for this year and in 2009, according to Kaiser. And widespread reductions in medical benefits have not occurred, federal health officials said.

“What we are seeing is a very strong commitment to the program” by health plans, said Jonathan Blum, director of the CMS’s Center for Medicare. Blum said that insurance executives with whom he has met have told him they expect to enroll more Medicare patients for the coming year – despite recent predictions by the Congressional Budget Office that enrollment would dip.

Outside the Obama administration, many fear that the smooth experience will not continue for long. “It may be a little early,” said David Certner, legislative director for AARP, the influential lobby for Americans 50 and older, which sells coverage to its eligible members under Medicare Advantage. “A lot of these changes . . . don’t kick in until next time around. We’ll see what the impact is.”

A main reason lies in the federal payments. For 2011, the reimbursements to health plans will be frozen at the same level as this year, meaning that the typical plan will be paid 10 percent more than rates to health-care providers in traditional Medicare in the same community – compared with13 percent higher in 2009.

The law’s deeper financial impact on insurers is scheduled to begin taking effect in 2012. That is when the law starts to ratchet down the increases in payments- by different amounts in different parts of the country – over several years. “It’s not going to be possible to keep current benefit levels and premiums where they are today when these massive cuts go into effect,” predicted Robert Zirkelbach, spokesman for America’s Health Insurance Plans, the industry’s main trade group. Congressional budget analysts predict that 3 million fewer people will be in Medicare Advantage by 2019.

It is, in fact, unclear is how insurers will respond to the cuts in 2012 and what effect the government’s decision to expand the system of bonuses has had on present plan participation.

I’ve neglected this story on the blog — Austin Frakt however, has been covering it very well over at the Incidental Economist. Basically, the health care law awards bonuses to Medicare Advantage plans rated four or five stars for quality (approximately 1 in 6 plans). CMS recently unveiled a 3-year expansion of the bonus payments program to include three-star rated plans (approximately three-quarters of the plans in Medicare). The problem is that expanding the bonus program discourages plans from improving quality and establishes the precedent and expectation of rewarding poor plans. That could cost the government much more than the estimated $ 1.3 billion 3-year expansion and keep plans in the program for all the wrong reasons.

Wonk Room

Sherrington: TCU’s choice to join Big East is a no-brainer – Dallas Morning News

November 29, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

CBS News
Sherrington: TCU's choice to join Big East is a no-brainer
Dallas Morning News
A recent ESPN.com survey indicated that if anything bad should happen to Auburn or Oregon this week, only the states of Alabama and Louisiana would be opposed to TCU playing in the national title game. Moving to the Big East won't necessarily swing
Texas Christian accepts invitation to join Big East ConferenceLos Angeles Times
TCU's move to Big East latest setback for BCS bashersUSA Today
TCU move to Big East has major impactFOXSports.com
CBSSports.com –FanHouse –The Star-Ledger – NJ.com
all 950 news articles »

Sports – Google News

Reclaiming Choice, Federalism, and Results in Education

November 26, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

schoolchoicesign

Education policy has often stumped or scared conservatives. It shouldn’t—we’ve long sided with children and parents against special interests—and especially not now. Federal education policy has all the defects that fueled activists’ ire this election season: skyrocketing spending, bureaucratic meddling and overreach into states’ constitutional authority. And it still leaves American children behind their potential.

Washington first ventured into local school policy with the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA). The 31-page, $ 1 billion Great Society project redistributed wealth to low-income districts, aiming to close the achievement gap between needy students and their peers.

Forty-five years later, the gap remains, educational performance has generally stagnated, and graduation rates haven’t improved.

What has changed is the federal role. ESEA has grown into a 600-page bureaucratic labyrinth known as the No Child Left Behind Act, with a mandate for everyone to hate. The annual price tag to taxpayers: $ 25 billion.

Conservatives can set a bold new course on education, beginning with these three priorities for federal reform:

  • Stop the Spending Spree: Federal K-12 education spending has increased 116% since 1980. In 2009, the U.S. Education Department saw a one-time windfall from the Obama “stimulus” package that instantly (and, thankfully, temporarily) doubled its budget. The administration has since called for a nearly 10 percent increase in FY 2011. It’s time to return to the more sober spending levels of FY 2008, while asking tough questions about federal programs’ cost-effectiveness overall.
  • Restore Federalism: Federal intervention has failed to improve American education, and Washington should get out of the way and send dollars and decision-making back to those closest to the child. That’s the argument conservatives will make in the looming debate over reauthorization of No Child Left Behind. Their alternative is the A-PLUS Act, sponsored by Sens. Jim DeMint (R-SC) and John Cornyn (R-TX). The plan would allow state leaders to consolidate funding from dozens of federal K-12 education programs and direct it to the most pressing education needs in their states without all the federal red tape.
  • Promote Parental Choice in Education: Every child should be free to attend a safe and effective school. Parents should have the power to choose such a school, with money that follows the child. In Washington, D.C., vouchers currently permit 1,200 students to escape the failing and often violent public schools. But congressional opponents, led by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), have tried to kill school choice. The Obama administration even revoked the scholarships of 216 students promised a spot in the program last year. Speaker-elect John Boehner (R-OH), a strong voucher proponent, met with scholarship families last Monday on his first day back in the office after elections, signaling his priority of restoring and expanding parental choice in our nation’s capital.

Education reform should begin but not end in Washington. For all its spending, the federal government remains only a 10 percent stakeholder in local education. The most potent reforms come from state capitals and, after historic Republican gains in legislatures and key gubernatorial wins, the broken status quo could face significant overhaul. For enduring impact, state reforms should:

  • Tackle the Pension Problem: In many states, teacher pension plans have helped make state budgets unsustainable. The Manhattan Institute estimates that teacher pension plans’ unfunded liabilities collectively amount to roughly $ 933 billion. Less than a quarter of that is due to the stock market’s recent poor performance; most of the deficit comes from poorly planned defined benefit plans and chronic under funding. State leaders cannot afford to postpone dealing with the pension crisis. Delay will only make a bad situation even worse. Shifting to defined contribution plans is one place to start.
  • Promote State Systemic Education Reform: State leaders should focus on results rather than inputs, and empower parents and teachers based on those results. For decades, teachers unions and their allies have clamored for more funding with little to show for it. Now states like Florida have set the pace by shifting to results-oriented policy that rewards achievement and gives students better opportunities when schools fail. Gov. Jeb Bush’s systemic reform has made impressive strides where federal policy has perennially failed. Black students in Florida have made academic gains at twice the rate of their peers nationwide in the past decade. Hispanic students match or outperform statewide averages in 31 states. Other states should follow suit by adopting the key ingredients of systemic reform: authentic accountability to parents and taxpayers, parental choice in education, and performance-based rewards for teachers.

Whether in Washington, D.C. or state capitals, midterm momentum offers conservatives a wide field for education reform where liberals have failed. Seizing the initiative could be one of the most important steps toward the goal of ensuring freedom and prosperity that animated this election cycle.

Cross-posted at ConservativeHome’s Platform.

The Foundry: Conservative Policy News.

Vote for the People’s Choice Hasby Awards 2010!

November 26, 2010 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comment 

The excitement for the 2010 Hasby Awards, for the best hasbara events of the year, is reaching a fever pitch!The entire free world is awaiting the live presentation of the winners on December 7th in New York City.

While the selection process for the official Hasbies is a closely guarded secret by the audit firm of EoZ and Associates, the People’s Choice Hasbara Awards are all up to you.

In no particular order, here are the nominees. (I am not including those who nominated things I did; that will be a separate poll.)

1. The IDF releasing video of soldiers being attacked on the Mavi Marmara within hours of the event, causing most viewers to see that the “peace protesters” were hardly peaceful:

2. The Im Tirtzu organization on publicizing the recipients of New Israel Fund monies going towards anti-Israel testimony in the Goldstone Report

3. Gabriel Latner’s speech at the Cambridge Union Society debates arguing “Why Israel is a Rogue State.”

4.Latma’s We Con the World:

5. HRW founder Robert L. Bernstein’s speech on Human Rights in the Middle East.

6. David Horowitz asking a question from a Muslim student at UCSD and getting a chilling answer:

7. RabbiLIVE revealing Helen Thomas’ anti-semitism and ending her career:

8. 16-year old Elad Daniel Pereg facing off, alone,   against an angry anti-Israel mob in Los Angeles with an IDF shirt and Israeli flag:

9. Israeli tourists sing Hebrew songs to the consternation of protesters outside the Ahava store in London on Rosh Hashanah:
10. The IDF’s instant field hospital in Haiti after the earthquake:

11. The Emergency Committee for Israel’s TV campaigns against anti-Israel candidates, specifically Pennsylvania’s Joe Sestak, who lost:

12. The IDF’s soldiers rocking the casbah in Hebron:

13. Rupert Murdoch’s pro-Israel speech at the ADL dinner.

14. Pilar Rahola’s article, “The Anti-Israel Hysteria

15. Canadian PM Stephen Harper’s speech at an anti-semitism conference:

16. Paris Zionists’ unique protest against the anti-Israel Gaza photo exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art in Paris:

Vote now!



Elder of Ziyon

Vote for the People’s Choice Hasby Awards 2010!

November 26, 2010 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comment 

The excitement for the 2010 Hasby Awards, for the best hasbara events of the year, is reaching a fever pitch!The entire free world is awaiting the live presentation of the winners on December 7th in New York City.

While the selection process for the official Hasbies is a closely guarded secret by the audit firm of EoZ and Associates, the People’s Choice Hasbara Awards are all up to you.

In no particular order, here are the nominees. (I am not including those who nominated things I did; that will be a separate poll.)

1. The IDF releasing video of soldiers being attacked on the Mavi Marmara within hours of the event, causing most viewers to see that the “peace protesters” were hardly peaceful:

2. The Im Tirtzu organization on publicizing the recipients of New Israel Fund monies going towards anti-Israel testimony in the Goldstone Report

3. Gabriel Latner’s speech at the Cambridge Union Society debates arguing “Why Israel is a Rogue State.”

4.Latma’s We Con the World:

5. HRW founder Robert L. Bernstein’s speech on Human Rights in the Middle East.

6. David Horowitz asking a question from a Muslim student at UCSD and getting a chilling answer:

7. RabbiLIVE revealing Helen Thomas’ anti-semitism and ending her career:

8. 16-year old Elad Daniel Pereg facing off, alone,   against an angry anti-Israel mob in Los Angeles with an IDF shirt and Israeli flag:

9. Israeli tourists sing Hebrew songs to the consternation of protesters outside the Ahava store in London on Rosh Hashanah:
10. The IDF’s instant field hospital in Haiti after the earthquake:

11. The Emergency Committee for Israel’s TV campaigns against anti-Israel candidates, specifically Pennsylvania’s Joe Sestak, who lost:

12. The IDF’s soldiers rocking the casbah in Hebron:

13. Rupert Murdoch’s pro-Israel speech at the ADL dinner.

14. Pilar Rahola’s article, “The Anti-Israel Hysteria

15. Canadian PM Stephen Harper’s speech at an anti-semitism conference:

16. Paris Zionists’ unique protest against the anti-Israel Gaza photo exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art in Paris:

Vote now!



Elder of Ziyon

Intoxicated With Diversity – And Choice

November 23, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Reihan loves America:

Speaking only for myself, I prefer the endless potential for novel experiences and encounters that I find in the diverse neighborhoods I've had the pleasure of living in to the correlates of civic health one finds in more homogeneous neighborhoods. It's possible that my preferences will change if I have children, etc., as parents tend to place a high premium on the perception of security. And that's part of why I strongly believe that no one should be condemned for choosing to live in a more homogeneous neighborhood. Diversity-lovers will continue to concentrate in places like New York city and stretches of southern California, where civic health might suffer but the quality of life will nevertheless remain high. Diversity-skeptics will continue to concentrate in places like Prince Georges County, Maryland, home to a number of middle- and upper-middle-class African American suburbs, and states like Vermont, Idaho, and Montana.





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The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan

Dick Morris: School Choice is Remedy for State Budget Deficits

November 19, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Former presidential advisor and best-selling author Dick Morris believes that newly elected Republican legislators in Michigan, Indiana, Pennsylvania and other states will explore school choice options to help remedy huge budget deficits.

In an interview with EAGtv, Morris said the failures of the nation’s public education system are obvious, and are tied to a lack of competition and choice inherent in the capitalistic system America was founded on. The reality of enormous state budget deficits will force newly elected lawmakers to return to those principles, Morris said.

“They are going to say ‘Well, do I want to spend $ 13,000 per student in a public school, or a better education at $ 8,000 in a charter school,’” Morris told EAGtv. “I think they are going to see the value of the $ 8,000.”

National School Choice Week, which runs January 23 – 29, will be a key factor in highlighting education options available.

“National School Choice Week is taking place right as these newly elected state governments and state legislatures are coming into office and fainting dead away at the size of the budget deficits they are going to face,” Morris said. “And the usual solution will be ‘we will let Washington pay the bill.’

“I think they are going to refuse to pay the bill unless states adopt fundamental changes and reforms, which includes education choice,” he said.


Big Government

Boehner: A Leader on School Choice

November 17, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R–OH) made quite a statement on Monday when, on his first day back in office post-elections, he took time out to meet with parents and children enrolled in the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program (DCOSP). In doing so, Boehner sent a clear signal to D.C. families of his support for school choice in the nation’s capital. A href=”http://gopleader.gov/Blog/?postid=215089″>statement released on Boehner’s blog noted:

Boehner, a former chairman of the House Education & the Workforce Committee, reaffirmed his commitment to renewing the DC OSP despite concerted efforts by education reform opponents to end the program. … The meeting came more than a year after education reform opponents in Washington first tried to terminate this successful scholarship program. … The Obama Administration announced its intent to phase out the program by denying any new participants, and 216 students who had been slated to receive scholarships for the 2009–10 school year had those awards taken away. id=”more-46813″>

Education reform opponents now have an important choice to make: will they continue to stand with their special interest allies, or will they join us in helping to ensure more of Washington, D.C.’s most vulnerable students can obtain a quality education?

The DCOSP has been a resounding success. Researchers at the University of Arkansas found that families were href=”http://www.uaedreform.org/SCDP/DC_Research/2009_Final.pdf”>overwhelmingly satisfied with the scholarship program. Quantitative assessments of the voucher program have found that the program has had a positive impact on children’s academic achievement, href=”http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/pubs/20094050/pdf/20094050.pdf”>particularly reading achievement. And most notably, the most recent evaluation of the DCOSP by the Department of Education revealed that students who received a voucher and used it to attend private school had a href=”http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2010/07/DC-Voucher-Students-Higher-Graduation-Rates-and-Other-Positive-Outcomes”>91 percent graduation rate—significantly higher than students who did not receive a voucher.

About 1,200 students are currently benefiting from the DCOSP. Without continued support for school choice in D.C., many of those students could have to return to the underperforming and unsafe public school system. But support for the DCOSP could also mean a lifeline for children currently trapped in underperforming public schools. The demand for scholarships is high: Prior to being put on life support by the Obama Administration, there were href=”http://www.voicesofschoolchoice.org/”>four applicants for every available scholarship.

These scholarships, at $ 7,500, are not even half of the more than $ 18,000 spent per pupil per year in the D.C. Public School System. And yet the DCOSP is achieving results that the D.C. public school system has been unable to produce for decades.

Boehner has been a leader in fighting for quality educational options for low-income children in the nation’s capital. And as a result of his strong support, DCOSP families are energized and hopeful that the future of education in D.C. is one full of choice and opportunity.

The Foundry: Conservative Policy News.

Boehner: A Leader on School Choice

November 17, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R–OH) made quite a statement on Monday when, on his first day back in office post-elections, he took time out to meet with parents and children enrolled in the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program (DCOSP). In doing so, Boehner sent a clear signal to D.C. families of his support for school choice in the nation’s capital. A href=”http://gopleader.gov/Blog/?postid=215089″>statement released on Boehner’s blog noted:

Boehner, a former chairman of the House Education & the Workforce Committee, reaffirmed his commitment to renewing the DC OSP despite concerted efforts by education reform opponents to end the program. … The meeting came more than a year after education reform opponents in Washington first tried to terminate this successful scholarship program. … The Obama Administration announced its intent to phase out the program by denying any new participants, and 216 students who had been slated to receive scholarships for the 2009–10 school year had those awards taken away. id=”more-46813″>

Education reform opponents now have an important choice to make: will they continue to stand with their special interest allies, or will they join us in helping to ensure more of Washington, D.C.’s most vulnerable students can obtain a quality education?

The DCOSP has been a resounding success. Researchers at the University of Arkansas found that families were href=”http://www.uaedreform.org/SCDP/DC_Research/2009_Final.pdf”>overwhelmingly satisfied with the scholarship program. Quantitative assessments of the voucher program have found that the program has had a positive impact on children’s academic achievement, href=”http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/pubs/20094050/pdf/20094050.pdf”>particularly reading achievement. And most notably, the most recent evaluation of the DCOSP by the Department of Education revealed that students who received a voucher and used it to attend private school had a href=”http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2010/07/DC-Voucher-Students-Higher-Graduation-Rates-and-Other-Positive-Outcomes”>91 percent graduation rate—significantly higher than students who did not receive a voucher.

About 1,200 students are currently benefiting from the DCOSP. Without continued support for school choice in D.C., many of those students could have to return to the underperforming and unsafe public school system. But support for the DCOSP could also mean a lifeline for children currently trapped in underperforming public schools. The demand for scholarships is high: Prior to being put on life support by the Obama Administration, there were href=”http://www.voicesofschoolchoice.org/”>four applicants for every available scholarship.

These scholarships, at $ 7,500, are not even half of the more than $ 18,000 spent per pupil per year in the D.C. Public School System. And yet the DCOSP is achieving results that the D.C. public school system has been unable to produce for decades.

Boehner has been a leader in fighting for quality educational options for low-income children in the nation’s capital. And as a result of his strong support, DCOSP families are energized and hopeful that the future of education in D.C. is one full of choice and opportunity.

The Foundry: Conservative Policy News.

Nominate Your Choice for ‘Scrooge of the Year’

November 15, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 
 
   

It’s the holiday season and time once again to say “bah humbug” to the most cold-hearted and greedy CEOs, corporations and politicians who exemplify the spirit of Ebenezer Scrooge.

 This is the 11th year that Jobs with Justice (JwJ) will “honor” the person or group that has done the most to “scrooge” workers. And the floor is open for nominations. Beginning today, you can nominate your candidate for Scrooge of the Year, along with a brief description of why he or she deserves the award by clicking here.

The winner will join an infamous group. Last year’s winner was the Chamber of Commerce. Voters singled out the Chamber for its narrow, radical agenda advocating anti-worker, profit-focused solutions to the broken health care, labor and environmental systems.

 In 2008, voters picked the entire lot of Wall Street executives whose unchecked corporate greed led to our nation’s economic disaster.

AFL-CIO NOW BLOG

Remarkable Interest in School Choice in Colorado?

November 12, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

By Daniel J. Mitchell

In Douglas County, CO, a jurisdiction with 240,000 residents south of Denver, there is strong public interest in the possible implementation of a sweeping school choice program.  Here’s a blurb from the Denver Post:

Douglas County School District officials say an unexpected level of interest in a retreat exploring school choice today and Saturday is forcing them to add an overflow room and a video feed to allow the public to watch the discussion. The school board is investigating a voucher program that would allow students to use public money to help with tuition at approved religious schools and other private ones. The two-day retreat will discuss the findings of a school-choice task force that has been mulling several issues, including vouchers.

…The board will officially discuss the school-choice recommendations at a meeting Tuesday night, during which the public will be allowed to comment. No Colorado school district has a voucher program.

Here’s a link to the full proposal. I’m told that parents will have a voucher for about $ 4,500 per child that can be used to finance tuition at any qualifying school. This is more than enough money to cover costs at most non-government schools, and the population is sufficiently large to make this program a dramatic test case.

Keep your fingers crossed that Douglas County officials resist special-interest groups that are seeking to thwart this reform. The teacher unions have been vicious in their efforts to stop this kind of development. If Douglas County succeeds in putting kids first, this could break the logjam and lead to better education policy across the nation.

Remarkable Interest in School Choice in Colorado? is a post from Cato @ Liberty – Cato Institute Blog


Cato @ Liberty

School Choice Center Stage in the States

November 12, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 
style=”float: right; margin-bottom: 10px; margin-left: 10px;”> href=”http://blog.heritage.org/wp-content/uploads/floridaschool.jpg”> class=”alignnone size-full wp-image-29045″ title=”floridaschool” src=”http://blog.heritage.org/wp-content/uploads/floridaschool.jpg” alt=”” width=”375″ height=”240″ />

As a result of last week’s election, 2011 could be a watershed year for education reform and school choice. Many conservative candidates in the states campaigned on returning to local control in education and expanding school choice options for parents. Several states in particular could see significant movement on the education reform front as new leadership takes the helm in the coming months.

In Arizona, incoming superintendent John Huppenthal bested Penny Kotterman, whom the href=”http://www.federationforchildren.com/categories/2?page=2″>American Federation for Children notes would have worked to roll-back school choice options for Arizona families. Notably, Kotterman, the former head of the Arizona teachers union, was the chief plaintiff in the landmark Kotterman v. Killian school choice case challenging the legality of the Arizona tax credit program. While Kotterman argues that vouchers and tax credits are “detrimental” and “irresponsible” policy, superintendent-elect Huppenthal is a staunch supporter, telling the href=”http://www.azcentral.com/news/election/azelections/articles/2010/11/02/20101102john-huppenthal-arizona-superintendent-race-new.html”>Arizona Republic: id=”more-46536″>

First and foremost, I’m about school choice. There’s no school that can be excellent for every child. So in order for every child to get an excellent education, we have to get excellent school choice.

The outcomes in Florida also mean that support for school choice will be strengthened. The Sunshine State—as we’ve detailed href=”http://thf_media.s3.amazonaws.com/2010/pdf/bg2468.pdf”>here, href=”http://thf_media.s3.amazonaws.com/2010/pdf/bg2468_Sp.pdf”>here and href=”http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/229905/reducing-achievement-gap/matthew-ladner”>here—has been a leader in education reform over the past decade. Governor-elect Rick Scott is likely to build on Florida’s success and is a strong proponent of school choice, including vouchers, charter schools, and an expansion of virtual education options. In his href=”http://www.rickscottforflorida.com/home/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/Scott_Rick_EducationBook_Online-1.pdf”>education platform, Governor-elect Scott writes:

I want to build an education framework that is student-centered, allowing education to be customized to fit the unique needs of each student and family. Every parent should have the choice to decide which delivery method and what provider is best to meet the needs and learning abilities of their children. Simply stated, parental choice is a crucial element of this new era in education. It is a catalyst to help all other reform measures work more effectively.

Moreover, the href=”http://www.federationforchildren.com/news-releases”>American Federation for Children notes that Pam Bondi “defeated the vehemently anti-school choice State Senator Dan Gelber to become the Sunshine State’s next Attorney General.”

In Indiana, Governor Mitch Daniels could have the support of both the Indiana House and the Senate when promoting school choice options and education reform proposals. The Republican-controlled House will be led by Brian Bosma, a strong school choice proponent, who would likely back school choice proposals set forth by Governor Daniels, such as vouchers for low-income children. The Evansville Courier Press reports that Daniels is considering a wide array of education reforms and that State Superintendent Tony Bennett supports Daniels’s education proposals “ href=”http://www.courierpress.com/news/2010/nov/04/ind-gov-daniels-outline-2011-legislative-agenda/”>without question.”

In Ohio, John Kasich, a school choice proponent, defeated Governor Ted Strickland. This will likely mean renewed support for the state’s school choice programs, including the Autism Scholarship Program, the EdChoice scholarship program, and the Cleveland voucher program. In addition to the support of Kasich, Ohio families will likely benefit from the support of the Ohio House of Representatives and the state Senate.

In Nevada, incoming Governor Brian Sandoval is not only a strong advocate for school choice; he also has big plans to implement many pieces of the successful Florida reform model. Education expert href=”http://jaypgreene.com/2010/11/02/6892/”>Matthew Ladner also notes that Sandoval plans to take a page from his election opponent, Rory Reid:

This was an especially interesting race from an education angle, as Sandoval called for Florida reforms, and Reid proposed weighted student funding. Sandoval read Reid’s education plan, and declared that it was a good plan, so he was going to do it and the Florida reforms.

Finally, Wisconsin will prove an exciting state to watch over the next year, as education reform promises to be on the agenda. Governor-elect Scott Walker is a strong supporter of the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program, which last year href=”http://www.dpi.state.wi.us/sms/choice.html”>empowered more than 20,000 students to attend a private school of their choice. Republicans also took control of both houses of the Wisconsin legislature, creating a ripe environment for education reform initiatives and school choice expansion.

Across the country, election results mean big opportunities for genuine education reform that empowers parents. Families are also likely to see education reform proposals in states like Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, and Kansas—states in which the post-election climate is more favorable to reform and to school choice. To the benefit of parents, children, and taxpayers, 2011 could indeed shape up to be one of the most fertile climates for choice-based education reform in years.

?

The Foundry: Conservative Policy News.

George Bush’s Choice for President in 2008

November 9, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Let’s just say it now has come out that he was not exactly…ahem…enthusiastic about Senator John McCain.


The Moderate Voice

Hutchinson replies to Greenfield’s “Corporate Law and the Rhetoric of Choice”

November 8, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

I really liked this piece by Harry Hutchinson: Choice, Progressive Values, and Corporate Law: A Reply to Greenfield

Abstract:  In his recent book chapter, Corporate Law and the Rhetoric of Choice, Professor Kent Greenfield rejects contractarian justifications for existing corporate governance arrangements. This rejection is propelled by the contention that current governance arrangements entrench existing matrices of social and economic power, thus disadvantaging corporate stakeholders who are currently excluded from the corporate decision making process. Greenfield advances this critique on two grounds. First, relying on behavioralist scholars, he accepts the demise of the rational actor model and, accordingly, opposes the contemporary use of choice as a construct that legitimates current corporate governance approaches. Seeking to include additional stakeholders in corporate governance, he disputes the deduction that each person acts to maximize her own welfare through exchanges that make all parties to the deal better off. Second, Greenfield refracts his analysis through the prism of Progressive thought and values. His dependence on the New Deal and Progressive values represents an effort to constrain contractarian extensions of neoclassical economics in the corporate law arena but draws inspiration from the regulatory urge that characterized government experimentation during the 1930s. Arguing that Progressives have been part of modernity’s inevitable march toward progress, Greenfield applies Progressive values to the nexus of contract model in order to expand the power of currently excluded stakeholders.

Greenfield’s approach is disturbing for two reasons. First, he fails to notice that behavioralist scholars often rely on experimental data, while law and economics scholars rely on empirical data. Accordingly, Greenfield does not distinguish between experimental data showing cognitive biases and empirical studies investigating behavioralist claims. Law and economics scholars emphasizing empirical analysis demonstrate that there is little proof “that behavioral law and economics generates greater predictive power than standard price theoretic analysis.” Thus, private decision making, which Greenfield castigates, typically results in better outcomes than the public/regulatory decision making that Greenfield prefers. Second, Greenfield’s reliance on Progressive values is misplaced because in its origins and its consequences, the Progressive Era was both liberal and conservative: liberal in emphasizing economic uplift for some but conservative in concluding that certain people – African Americans, women, immigrants, and others – were defectives in need of social control and exclusion. The evidence shows that Progressive Era labor legislation, often sheltered by social justice rhetoric, succeeded in excluding large numbers of Americans from employment. Much contemporary evidence sustains the observation that the Progressive impulse continues to exclude the disadvantaged from labor markets today.

Properly evaluated, Greenfield’s critique, offered in the name of the disadvantaged, produces a number of claims that may ultimately advantage those in power. Denouncing existing corporate governance architecture (which is justified by the contractarian claim that people know and protect their interests when they bargain, purchase stocks, and voluntarily enter into agreements that establish corporations), he ignores special interest groups who protect their own interest by seizing the power of the state. Majoritarian seizure gains traction by invoking social justice rhetoric but allows powerful interest groups to exclude their weaker competitors from the labor markets they wish to dominate. Greenfield’s effort to diminishrespect for choice and liberty of contract correlates with paternalistic efforts to enlarge the power of government. As both the New Deal and the contemporary economic record show, enlarging government’s scope predicated on Progressive values risks government failure as well as the sub-ordination of more citizens. This is so because such values, when stripped of the patina of progress, consist of contradiction and coercion that reduce the number of beneficial consensual avenues available to most Americans.

Many years ago I tackled an earlier generation of Progressive corproate law scholarship in Community and Statism: A Conservative Contractarian Critique of Progressive Corporate Law Scholarship




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