Tag Archives: Postal Service

International tests show US children lagging despite record spending on education

Jay Richards tweeted this article from the Wall Street Journal.

Excerpt:

Since 1998, the Program for International Student Assessment, or Pisa, has ranked 15-year-old kids around the world on common reading, math and science tests. The U.S. brings up the middle—again—among 65 education systems that make up fourth-fifths of the global economy. The triennial Pisa report also shows—again—that East Asian countries like Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea produce the best outcomes.

U.S. performance hasn’t budged in a decade. For 2012, U.S. students placed 26th in mathematics, a bit below the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development average, and 17th in reading and 21st in science, close to the average. The U.S. slipped in all categories compared to international competitors, plunging from 11th in reading as recently as 2009.

American teenagers seem especially weak in core academic subjects with high cognitive demands, such as translating concepts into solutions for real-world problems. A quarter never become proficient in math. In Shanghai and Korea, the comparable figure is 10% or fewer. Some 7% of U.S. students reached the top two scientific performance levels, compared with 17% in Finland and an amazing 27% in Shanghai. Is it tiger moms or tiger schools, or maybe both?

The U.S. is way out front in one measure: per-student spending. Only Austria, Luxembourg, Norway and Switzerland spend more. Despite laying out $115,000 per head, the U.S. did no better than the Slovak Republic, which spends $53,000.

Perhaps most depressingly, the data show no statistically significant U.S. achievement improvement over time. None. In an era when it pays to be thankful for small mercies, at least we’re not getting worse, but America’s relative standing is falling as other countries improve.

[…]Massachusetts has been running public schools since 1635 and today is home to some of the best performers in the nation. The state entered Pisa as if it was its own country—but students of the same age in Shanghai performed as if they had two more years of math instruction than those in the Bay State.

[…]Pisa also adds another count to the bill of indictment for the Democrats who block reform to serve their teachers union patrons. Education Secretary Arne Duncan called the report “a picture of educational stagnation,” but liberals are major impediments to more accountability, merit-based compensation and school-choice competition. The Justice Department has even gone so far as to sue Louisiana to block its modest voucher program, which is a moral crime against the students consigned to failing schools.

There are a few areas of economics that I think that Christians really ought to understand, and education is one of them. We definitely need to be concerned about policies that make it harder for poor, minority students to get ahead. We keep throwing money at the unionized public school system, and we get no results. We need to think about making education more like online shopping. What makes online shopping great is choice and competition. If schools were allowed to compete with one another, then the customer would be assured of getting more quality for less money. The public school system is a monopoly, and it serves the teachers and the education bureaucrats – not the children.

Related posts

MUST-SEE: Cato Institute lady explains why competition is better than monopoly

Look at this fun video of a young lady from the libertarian Cato Institute explaining why choice and competition are better for consumers than monopolies! (H/T Hot Air)

She is especially interested in education and has lots of wonderful statistics.

It’s only 5 minutes long! This woman (Izzy Santa) is way better than Dan Mitchell! His videos were horrible compared to this one. I can actually understand what this lady is saying, and she makes fun gestures when she talks. She says “rotten”! The charts are really helpful, too. This is probably the best thing you could ever watch to learn a little bit about why I find economics so interesting. This is really something that all women should know a lot about to help them to be excellent wives and mothers.

You might want to send this post to your friends and family who may think that the best thing for education is to give public schools more money. It may be that the best way to get better public schools for less money is to make them compete with private, parochial and charter schools.

Moral hazard and the recession

Here’s another video on moral hazards, which explains how we got the recession:

This one is only 4 minutes long. I don’t think it’s quite as good as the first one. The lady who is presenting is from the Independent Women’s Forum. I love that think tank! They have Carrie Lukas on staff. She is the author of “The Politically Incorrect Guide to Women, Sex and Feminism”.

Several stories on government spending, waste and corruption

Here are some interesting stories sent to me by ECM.

CNN: Report finds imprudent spending at USPS.

Excerpt:

The U.S. Postal Service spent more than $792,000 “without justification” on meals and events in one five-month period even as it reported losing $3.8 billion this year, the agency’s inspector general says in a report.

Employees spent $792,022 on meals and external events “without justification for food purchases, purchased alcohol without officer approval and exceeded the dollar limit for meals,” the report says.

Among the purchases were crab cakes, beef Wellington and scallops at an installation ceremony for one of several postmasters in the United States, the report says.

[…]The Postal Service reported a $3.8 billion net loss for the 2009 fiscal year…

University of Michigan links government bailouts to corruption.

Excerpt:

U.S. banks that spent more money on lobbying were more likely to get government bailout money, according to a study released on Monday. Banks whose executives served on Federal Reserve boards were more likely to receive government bailout funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program, according to the study from Ran Duchin and Denis Sosyura, professors at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. Banks with headquarters in the district of a U.S. House of Representatives member who serves on a committee or subcommittee relating to TARP also received more funds. Political influence was most helpful for poorly performing banks, the study found. “Political connections play an important role in a firm’s access to capital,” Sosyura, a University of Michigan assistant professor of finance, said in a statement. Banks with an executive who sat on the board of a Federal Reserve Bank were 31 percent more likely to get bailouts through TARP’s Capital Purchase Program, the study showed. Banks with ties to a finance committee member were 26 percent more likely to get capital purchase program funds.

South Carolina Attorney General will investigate Ben Nelson’s Obamacare bribe.

Excerpt:

South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster said Tuesday that he intends to organize his counterparts in different states to investigate dealmaking that sealed a final compromise on federal health care legislation.

McMaster said the language of the Nelson provision appears to give the State of Nebraska a permanent exemption from paying the Medicaid expenses all other states in the nation will be required to pay.

Attorney General Henry McMaster said he and his counterparts in Alabama, Colorado, Michigan, North Dakota, Texas and Washington state—all Republicans—are jointly taking a look at the deal they’ve dubbed the ‘Nebraska compromise.’

The ‘Nebraska compromise,’ which permanently exempts Nebraska from paying Medicaid costs that Texas and all other 49 states must pay, may violate the United States Constitution—as well as other provisions of federal law.’

White House pressuring pro-life Democrat to pass health care.

Excerpt:

Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) said the White House and the Democratic leadership in the House of Representatives have been pressuring him not to speak out on the “compromise” abortion language in the Senate version of the health care bill.

“They think I shouldn’t be expressing my views on this bill until they get a chance to try to sell me the language,” Stupak told CNSNews.com in an interview on Tuesday. “Well, I don’t need anyone to sell me the language. I can read it. I’ve seen it. I’ve worked with it. I know what it says. I don’t need to have a conference with the White House. I have the legislation in front of me here.”

CBO double-counted Medicare savings in estimate provided prior to Senate vote.

Excerpt:

The key point is that the savings to the HI (Medicare Hospital Insurance) trust fund under the PPACA (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) would be received by the government only once, so they cannot be set aside to pay for future Medicare spending and, at the same time, pay for current spending on other parts of the legislation or on other programs.

To describe the full amount of HI trust fund savings as both improving the government’s ability to pay future Medicare benefits and financing new spending outside of Medicare would essentially double-count a large share of those savings and thus overstate the improvement in the government’s fiscal position.

One nice things about capitalism and small government is that it minimizes corruption and waste. (Companies trying to make a profit don’t waste, and they don’t try to influence government if government stays out of the free market). But some people like big government because they think that they should have their lives subsidized by their neighbors. A vote for a Democrat is a vote for corruption and waste.