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Archive for May, 2016
Captain America’s Civil War and Political Principle

Captain America: Civil War blasted into U.S. theaters generating $192 million in its first weekend and more than $700 million worldwide. I’ll confess: I almost passed this one up: All I could envision were lots of explosions and major cities crumbling. I had my fill of that with the destruction of the fictional Sokovia…
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Against the Feel-Good Study of History and Literature

The educational establishment seems to be expending a great deal of effort these days to excise “offensive” material from the curricula of history and literature. For example, Mark Twain’s great anti-racist novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn has been removed from the study materials in many schools because of its use of the word “nigger”…
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Federal Health Bureaucracy Growing? Don’t Blame (Just) Obamacare

Libertarians and conservatives and others have spent five years complaining about the increased bureaucratic burden of Obamacare. New research by Sam Batkins of the American Action Forum, while not letting Obamacare off the hook, shows the problem predates the current administration. The following chart shows the burden of paperwork has increased linearly since at…
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The Latest Innovation in Education: Empowering Parents

When it comes to education reform, fads abound but genuine innovation is rare. Fads masquerading as “innovations” have been wreaking havoc on American elementary and secondary education for decades, including new math, open classrooms, whole language, and Differentiated Instruction, which groups children by their “learning styles.” The latest fad is psychometric testing, which collects…
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Against “We,” “Us,” and “Our” in Policy Discourse

Rhetoric is often insidious, especially in political and policy-related discourse. The words a writer or speaker uses to express his ideas may easily tilt the reader or listener’s evaluation toward unwarranted acceptance or rejection. Politicians and others who make public pronouncements understand this effect, and they choose their words with an eye toward using…
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NSA Spying: Another Foreign Intervention Come Home

The Washington Post recently ran an article titled, “Surprise! NSA data will soon routinely be used for domestic policing that has nothing to do with terrorism.” In the article, journalist Radley Balko explains that provisions in the Patriot Act have allowed the National Security Agency to share information with a variety of other agencies,…
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Fed ED: Boon or Boondoggle for Teachers?

It’s National Teacher Appreciation Week, but many teachers don’t feel all that appreciated. According to a recent US Department of Education survey, teachers’ perceptions about how much autonomy they have in the classroom has steadily declined since 2003—which corresponds with increasingly intrusive federal education mandates over testing, standards, and curriculum. In particular, opposition to…
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California Charter School Breaks Away from District

In spite of opposition from some members of the Ross Valley School District (RVSD), the California State Board of Education (CBOE) unanimously approved the transformation of an alternative education program into the Ross Valley Charter School. As the Heartland Institute’s School Reform News reporter Ashley Bateman recently wrote: Vicki Alger, a research fellow with…
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California’s Dream World

California Gov. Jerry Brown caved in recently to intense lobbying from labor-union leaders and signed a bill to raise the state’s minimum wage from $10 to $15 per hour by 2022. “California is proving once again that it can get things done and help people get ahead,” Brown said. Dream on, Gov. Brown –…
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Is Consumer-Directed Health Care Going the Wrong Way?

Gary Claxton and colleagues, of the Kaiser Family Foundation, have written a concise analysis of the evolution in health payments from 2004 through 2015: From 2004 to 2014, the average payments by enrollees towards deductibles rose 256% from $99 to $353, and the average payments towards coinsurance rose 107%, from $117 to $242, while…
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