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  • Backgrounder posted December 4, 2015 by Paul Winfree, Daren Bakst, Rachel Sheffield, James Phillips, Diane Katz, Nicolas Loris, Katie Tubb, Roger Severino, Sarah Torre, Lindsey Burke, James Sherk, Robert E. Moffit, Ph.D., Brett D. Schaefer, David Inserra Important Policy Riders for the FY 2016 Appropriations Bills

    The Constitution unequivocally grants Congress the exclusive power to appropriate funds for the “necessary and proper” operations of government.[1] James Madison wrote in The Federalist No. 58 that providing budgetary powers to Congress was a critical element in maintaining individual rights: “The power over the purse may, in fact, be regarded as the most complete and…

  • Backgrounder posted December 2, 2015 by Lindsey Burke The Every Student Succeeds Act: More Programs and Federal Intervention in Pre-K and K–12 Education

    In late November, Congress proposed reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), currently known as No Child Left Behind (NCLB). The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) would reauthorize ESEA, which has been due for a rewrite since 2007, marking a new period for the law established exactly 50 years ago by President Lyndon B. Johnson. The 1,061-page…

  • Commentary posted November 12, 2015 by Lindsey Burke Blaine Amendment shouldn't stop Education Savings Accounts

    "Dismal." "A train wreck." That's how people have characterized the results of this year's National Assessment of Educational Progress. The NAEP assesses fourth- and eighth-graders' performance in reading and math every other year. Test results had been trending upward since the early 1990s, but the results released last month indicated a drop in both math and reading…

  • Backgrounder posted November 9, 2015 by Lindsey Burke, Vance H. Fried Open Education: Individualized Learning from Kindergarten to College

    Notions about how the American education system should function, from kindergarten to college, are changing. The very idea of constructs such as grade levels, and a rigid division between high school and college, is being challenged. The proliferation of online learning has created unprecedented access to a wide range of academic content, laying the groundwork for a…

  • Backgrounder posted September 28, 2015 by Lindsey Burke From Piecemeal to Portable: Transforming Title I into a Student-Centered Support System

    At the federal, state, and local level, policymakers and education-reform advocates have been striving to improve educational options and outcomes for all children, focusing in particular on improving outcomes for children from disadvantaged families. This effort is not new, nor is the sense that K–12 education is falling short, particularly for those children who need…

  • Backgrounder posted July 20, 2015 by James Sherk, Lindsey Burke Automation and Technology Increase Living Standards

    Many Americans worry that automation will significantly reduce the need for human employees. Historical experience should help to alleviate many of these concerns. Technological advances have eliminated specific jobs and reduced prices, but the historical record shows this has left consumers with more money to spend elsewhere, increasing the demand for human labor in…

  • Backgrounder posted June 22, 2015 by Lindsey Burke Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act: No Place for Expanded Preschool and Childcare Subsidies

    President Obama has proposed spending $75 billion over the next decade to establish a new federally funded preschool program to serve all four-year-old children. Some Members of Congress have also expressed interest in new federal preschool programs and spending, and have turned to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), currently known as No Child Left Behind…

  • Commentary posted June 12, 2015 by Lindsey Burke Building student-centered education

    Imagine being able to create a tailored, made-to-order education for your child. Perhaps you know that the private school one neighborhood over has an excellent high school mathematics program. It allows students who don't attend full time to take individual courses there, so your daughter takes an Algebra II class there three days a week. In the afternoons, she joins a…

  • Commentary posted June 8, 2015 by Lindsey Burke Nevada Enacts Universal School Choice

    On Tuesday night, Nevada governor Brian Sandoval signed into law the nation’s first universal school-choice program. That in and of itself is groundbreaking: The state has created an option open to every single public-school student. Even better, this option improves upon the traditional voucher model, coming in the form of an education savings account (ESA) that parents…

  • Commentary posted May 1, 2015 by Lindsey Burke Anti-Common Core bill deserved veto: Letter

    So, the governor has killed the “Anti-Common Core Bill” (“Bryant vetoes Common Core bill…,” April 23). Good. It was pretty much a sham reform anyway. The surest way to accomplish nothing is to create a government commission — and that’s all the bill would have done. Yes, the Mississippi Commission on College and Career Readiness would have studied the Common Core…

  • Issue Brief posted February 18, 2015 by Lindsey Burke What Congress and States Can Do to Reform Education Policy

    Getting American education back on track will require federal and state action to achieve reforms in a number of areas. In both K–12 and higher education policy, federal reforms anticipate state action to advance conservative principles. For example, the Higher Education Reform and Opportunity (HERO) Act introduced by Senator Mike Lee (R–UT) and by Representative Ron…

  • Issue Brief posted February 11, 2015 by Lindsey Burke NCLB Reauthorization Proposals: Missed Opportunities for Conservatives

    The House Education and the Workforce Committee, and the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee have each proposed reauthorizations of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), known as No Child Left Behind (NCLB). House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R–MN) has introduced the Student Success Act, and Senate HELP…

  • Commentary posted February 5, 2015 by Lindsey Burke Wanted: Uber-Ized Education

    Following a recent education policy conference, we shared a ride back to the airport. Hailing the driver via the Uber app, we could see his name, face, and rating; we could track his approach on the app’s map, and we paid the fare automatically through the app at ride’s end. In other words, getting to the airport was about as convenient and easy as possible, this side of…

  • Commentary posted December 17, 2014 by Lindsey Burke Now’s the time for bold alternatives to No Child Left Behind

    Lawmakers already are talking about reauthorizing No Child Left Behind — the George W. Bush-era education initiative. “I’d like to have the president’s signature on it before summer,” challenged Sen. Lamar Alexander, the Tennessee Republican who will assume chairmanship of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) committee when Congress resumes in…

  • Commentary posted December 15, 2014 by Lindsey Burke, Rachel Sheffield The Preschool Mirage

    The Obama administration has just announced a new $1 billion initiative ($750 million in federal grants and the remainder from private funding) to enroll more children in government preschool programs. The new measure is being announced formally at the White House Summit on Early Education this morning. The push comes on the heels of President Obama’s speech on women and…