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  • Backgrounder posted December 22, 2016 by Robert Rector, Jamie Bryan Hall National Academy of Sciences Report Indicates Amnesty for Unlawful Immigrants Would Cost Trillions of Dollars

    Estimates indicate that there are at least 10 million adult illegal immigrants in the U.S. If granted amnesty or earned citizenship, these illegal immigrants would gain access to benefits under Social Security, Medicare, the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”), and over 90 federal means-tested welfare programs. The value of the benefits that amnesty recipients would receive…

  • Backgrounder posted December 20, 2016 by Robert Rector, Rachel Sheffield Five Myths About Welfare and Child Poverty

    Child poverty is an issue that is often discussed both in the media and by policymakers. Unfortunately, the many faulty assumptions surrounding this issue lead to misdirected responses. These faulty assumptions include the following: The welfare state in the U.S. is small; Welfare benefits are meager and insufficient; Due to a lack of government support,…

  • Backgrounder posted December 19, 2016 by Lindsey Burke Reducing Federal Intervention in Education and Moving Toward Student-Centered Policies: 10 Steps for the Incoming Administration

    The Trump Administration has unprecedented opportunities to advance student-centered education reforms that limit federal intervention in local school policy. By advancing education choice, where appropriate, and working with Congress to eliminate ineffective federal programs and spending, the Trump Administration can make great strides toward restoring state and local…

  • Special Report posted December 12, 2016 by Jason Bedrick, Lindsey Burke Recalibrating Accountability: Education Savings Accounts as Vehicles of Choice and Innovation

    Executive Summary In order to foster a variety of innovative and high-quality education options for all students, universal access to education savings accounts (ESAs) should be the goal of policymakers in every state. ESAs are flexible spending accounts that parents can use to purchase a wide variety of educational goods and services, including private school tuition,…

  • Backgrounder posted November 16, 2016 by Robert Rector Reforming the Earned Income Tax Credit and Additional Child Tax Credit to End Waste, Fraud, and Abuse and Strengthen Marriage

    The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is the nation’s second largest means-tested cash welfare program. Its major function is to provide “refundable” tax credits to low-income individuals. The Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) is a second refundable tax credit, available only to families with children. Most families with children that receive the EITC also receive the…

  • Issue Brief posted October 3, 2016 by Lindsey Burke, Jonathan Butcher Education Savings Accounts: Advancing Choice in States with Blaine Amendments

    In September 2016, the Nevada Supreme Court upheld education savings accounts (ESAs) as constitutional in the Silver State. ESAs are distinct from other parental choice mechanisms in education, especially K–12 private-school vouchers. Other options only enable parents to choose the school for their children—something which, in the case of vouchers, opponents have argued…

  • 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…