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  • Issue Brief posted August 21, 2016 by Robert Rector, Jamie Bryan Hall Did Welfare Reform Increase Extreme Poverty in the United States?

    Two decades ago, on August 22, 1996, President Bill Clinton signed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act, popularly known as welfare reform, into law. At the time, liberals proclaimed that the bill would slash the incomes of one in five families with children and push 2.6 million people into poverty.[1] Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously predicted…

  • Issue Brief posted July 19, 2016 by Lindsey Burke, Jamie Bryan Hall, Mary Clare Reim Big Debt, Little Study: What Taxpayers Should Know About College Students’ Time Use

    College students understandably bemoan the costs of higher education. During the 2015–2016 school year, annual costs[1] at four-year public universities reached $19,548 for in-state students and $34,031 for out-of-state students. Annual costs at private institutions reached $43,921.[2] Federal student aid has likely exacerbated the college cost problem, providing…

  • Issue Brief posted July 15, 2016 by Mary Clare Reim “Free” Community College Is a Bad Deal for Taxpayers and Students

    In response to a growing student debt problem, some policymakers have proposed making community college free at the point of delivery, financed entirely by taxpayers.[1] President Obama has suggested making “two years of college…as free and universal in America as high school is today.”[2] Yet such proposals are problematic for a number of reasons, not the least of which…

  • Backgrounder posted May 11, 2016 by Lindsey Burke, Salim Furth, Ph.D. Research Review: Universal Preschool May Do More Harm than Good

    Evidence continues to mount that government-funded preschool fails to fulfill the promises of its proponents. New studies of large-scale preschool programs in Quebec and Tennessee show that vastly expanding access to free or subsidized preschool may worsen behavioral and emotional outcomes. Even proponents of universal preschool admit that it does nothing to improve…

  • Commentary posted April 11, 2016 by Mary Clare Reim Campus Protests and Common Core

    IT’S BAD ENOUGH that college students today have to juggle academic and social pressures while paying historically high tuition rates that often saddle them with years of debt. But now they’re struggling to retain their First Amendment rights. We’ve seen this all across the country. Students at Yale University last year made headlines when they protested, of all things,…

  • Commentary posted April 6, 2016 by Lindsey Burke Giving D.C. Children the Best Education

    D.C.’s academic trends reveal positive developments along with heartbreaking stagnation. On the plus side, academic achievement scores today are far higher than they were in the 1990s. The District’s improvement on National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) exams easily outpaces that of any state. However, the vast majority of the gains have been achieved by…

  • Commentary posted April 5, 2016 by Lindsey Burke Fight for Education Choice in Oklahoma Must Continue

    Should Oklahomans care that proposals designed to created education savings accounts won't advance in the Legislature this year? Ask Susan Agel. Agel is president of Positive Tomorrows, Oklahoma's only private school for homeless children. Because her school relies on the generosity of donors to remain tuition-free for students, she is able to enroll only about 58…

  • Issue Brief posted April 1, 2016 by Lindsey Burke Education Savings Accounts for Children Attending Bureau of Indian Education Schools: A Promising Step Forward

    No child should be trapped in a failing school because of where he lives. That certainly includes Native American children who attend schools so bad they prompted a piece entitled “How Washington Created the Worst Schools in America.”[1] The schools, known as Bureau of Indian Education schools, are the subject of a proposal recently introduced by Senator John McCain…

  • Special Report posted March 24, 2016 by Lindsey Burke, Neal McCluskey, Theodor Rebarber, Stanley Kurtz, William A. Estrada, Williamson M. Evers Common Core and the Centralization of American Education

    Introduction What should education accomplish? The question has a narrow answer when the respondent is a federal bureaucrat, charged with counting academic outcomes in the aggregate to assess student performance relative to some national metric. But as the respondent gets closer to the student—or is himself the student—the answer is far more refined and paints a more…

  • Testimony posted March 3, 2016 by Lindsey Burke Pertinent Issues Surrounding Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act

    Testimony before Committee on Education and the Workforce United States House of Representatives March 2, 2016 Lindsey Burke Will Skillman Fellow in Education Policy The Heritage Foundation My name is Lindsey Burke. I am the Will Skillman Fellow in Education Policy at The Heritage Foundation. The views I express in this testimony are my own, and should not be…

  • Issue Brief posted February 24, 2016 by Robert Rector, Rachel Sheffield Setting Priorities for Welfare Reform

    The United States’ means-tested welfare system consists of over 80 programs that provide cash, food, housing, medical care, and social services to poor and lower-income Americans. Total annual spending on these programs reached $1 trillion in 2015.[1] More than 75 percent of this funding comes from the federal government. The last substantial reform of welfare, enacted…

  • Testimony posted February 11, 2016 by Robert Rector Reducing Hunger and Very Low Food Security

    Executive Summary There are frequent claims of widespread hunger in the United States. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has defined hunger as “the uneasy or painful sensation caused by lack of food.” Hunger is a temporary sensation of discomfort; it is very different from and less severe than malnutrition. The most widely accepted measure of hunger is the very…

  • Backgrounder posted February 8, 2016 by Robert Rector, Rachel Sheffield, Kevin D. Dayaratna, Ph.D. Maine Food Stamp Work Requirement Cuts Non-Parent Caseload by 80 Percent

    In 2015, the U.S. government spent over $1 trillion on means-tested welfare aid, providing cash, food, housing, medical care, and social services to poor and low-income individuals. The food stamp program is the nation’s second largest means-tested welfare program.[1] The number of food stamp recipients has risen dramatically from about 17.2 million in 2000 to 45.8…

  • 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…