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  • Commentary posted October 6, 2014 by Lindsey Burke ESAs Are Changing the Game

    "A blind student in Arizona gets about $21,000 a year,” says Marc Ashton, whose son, Max, is legally blind. That $21,000 represents what Arizona spends to educate a student such as Max in the public-school system. “We took our 90 percent of that, paid for Max to get the best education in Arizona, plus all of his Braille, all of his technology, and then there was still…

  • Commentary posted September 23, 2014 by Robert Rector The War on Poverty: 50 years of failure

    This year marks the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson's launch of the War on Poverty. In January 1964, Johnson declared "unconditional war on poverty in America." Since then, the taxpayers have spent $22 trillion on Johnson's war. Adjusted for inflation, that's three times the cost of all military wars since the American Revolution. Last year, government…

  • Commentary posted September 18, 2014 by Robert Rector Miscounting Poverty Again: The War On Poverty After Fifty Years

    Today the U.S. Census Bureau released its annual poverty report. The report is noteworthy because this year is the 50th anniversary of President Johnson’s launch of the War on Poverty. But this morning, the Census Bureau reported that 14.5 percent of Americans were poor in 2013. This is essentially the same rate as in 1966, two years after the War on Poverty was…

  • Backgrounder posted September 15, 2014 by Robert Rector, Rachel Sheffield The War on Poverty After 50 Years

    This week, the U.S. Census Bureau is scheduled to release its annual poverty report. The report will be notable because this year marks the 50th anniversary of the launch of President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty. In his January 1964 State of the Union address, Johnson proclaimed, “This administration today, here and now, declares unconditional war on poverty in…

  • Backgrounder posted August 19, 2014 by Lindsey Burke Reauthorizing the Higher Education Act—Toward Policies that Increase Access and Lower Costs

    Congress will soon consider reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA). Among other issues, the HEA governs federal student aid including all federal student loans and grants. The Higher Education Act was first signed into law in 1965 by President Lyndon Johnson as one of many programs comprising his Great Society initiative, and has been reauthorized nine times…

  • Commentary posted August 6, 2014 by Robert Rector Welfare State Grows as Self-Sufficiency Declines

    For the past 50 years, the government's annual poverty rate has hardly changed at all. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 15 percent of Americans still live in poverty, roughly the same rate as the mid-1960s when the War on Poverty was just starting. After adjusting for inflation, federal and state welfare spending today is 16 times greater than it was when President…

  • Commentary posted July 17, 2014 by Lindsey Burke Breaks do Nothing to Cut College Costs: Front Burner

    Federal lawmakers have been trying for decades to reduce the burden of paying for college. Congress has significantly expanded lending, lifted caps on borrowing, and cut interest rates on federal student loans. Parents even became eligible to take out loans to pay for children's college in the 1980s through the Parent PLUS program.  The Obama administration recently used…

  • Commentary posted July 8, 2014 by Lindsey Burke Tenure Creates the Wrong Incentives

    “Nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program,” quipped Milton Friedman. The same could be said of teachers with tenure. Last year, just two – that’s right, two – teachers in California were dismissed because of performance issues, according to Parent Revolution’s Ben Austin. While it’s likely only a small minority of teachers is grossly ineffective, tenure…

  • Commentary posted June 9, 2014 by Lindsey Burke Elizabeth Warren Leaves Taxpayers on Hook for More Student Loan Subsidies

    Congress has long tried to help students afford a college education. It has cut interest rates on federal student loans, vastly expanded federal lending and lifted caps on borrowing. In the 1980s, it even let parents borrow directly from the feds — through the Parent PLUS program — to pay for their children’s college. None of this has reduced college costs. Indeed, some…

  • Testimony posted June 4, 2014 by Lindsey Burke Student Loan Servicing: The Borrower’s Experience

    Testimony before The Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Financial Institutions and Consumer Protection Subcommittee United States Senate My name is Lindsey M. 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 construed as representing any official position…

  • Commentary posted May 13, 2014 by Lindsey Burke Our National Report Card: No Education Progress Since 2009

    Last week the U.S. Department of Education released the 2013 results of math and reading achievement for 12th graders on the National Assessment of Educational Progress. It’s hard to say what’s been achieved. According to the NAEP — a standardized test often referred to as the nation’s “report card” — just 26 percent of the country’s 12th graders are proficient in math.…

  • Issue Brief posted March 18, 2014 by Lindsey Burke The Value of Parental Choice in Education: A Look at the Research

    Over the past decade, a growing body of empirical research examining the impact of school choice has emerged. Education researcher Greg Forster, PhD, conducted an analysis of all existing empirical evaluations of school choice programs to date. According to Forster, 11 out of 12 random assignment studies found that choice improved the academic outcomes of participants;…

  • Commentary posted March 13, 2014 by Lindsey Burke Common Core and the New SAT

    The hugely controversial Common Core initiative is at least partly responsible for the latest revamp of the SAT college entrance exam. This puts great pressure on non-Common Core states, private schools, and homeschoolers to comply with national standards to keep students from doing poorly on the new Common Core–aligned SAT. There have been many changes made to the SAT…

  • Commentary posted March 12, 2014 by Lindsey Burke Choosing to Learn

    Americans face a choice between two paths that will guide education in this nation for generations: self-government and central planning. Which we choose will depend in large measure on how well we understand accountability.   To some, accountability means government-imposed standards and testing, like the Common Core State Standards, which advocates believe will ensure…

  • Issue Brief posted March 7, 2014 by Lindsey Burke, Rachel Sheffield New Preschool Spending an Unnecessary Burden on American Taxpayers

    President Obama has proposed spending $75 billion over the next 10 years to create a new federally funded preschool initiative. His fiscal year (FY) 2015 budget proposes spending billions to expand access to “high quality preschool” for every four-year-old child in the country. Legislative proposals in the House and Senate mirror the President’s plan. Proposals to…