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What We’re Reading | January 11, 2013

February 1, 2013 3 minute Read by Jacqueline Lowe

A State-By-State Look at our Nation’s Educational Landscape
This past week saw a trend in national education reform efforts: policy and research driven centers surveying and reporting on important aspects of state education systems.  Three reports released this past week - Student’s First State Policy Report Card, The Arnold Foundation’s “Small  States Get Big Pensions” Report, and  Education Week’s Quality Counts’ Code of Conduct’s State Report Card - measured varying elements of state educational quality, ranging from governing actions to teacher evaluation and data collection to pension reform.  Every report sparked an interesting conversation rooted in the central theme of “what is best for our Nation’s students.”  The George W. Bush Institute has taken an in-depth look at the national education landscape, as well, through the Global Report Card.  The Global Report Card allows students, parents, teachers and involved citizens to compare their school district’s performance against the rest of the world.  We invite you to look at these reports and our own Global Report Card to determine where your state and school district rank.

James Buchanan, a Star Economist Who Understood Obamacare
In her most recent Bloomberg column, 4% Growth Director Amity Shlaes writes about the legacy of economist James Buchanan. Shlaes writes, “more than any of the rest of America’s great modern economists, Buchanan stressed the primacy of interest groups." Shlaes comments on the irony that Buchanan passed away just as the budget deal was being negotiated and Obamacare is beginning the enforcement stage: “Almost everyone involved in the budget deal agrees that it is more a product of interest groups than a principled construct. The same can be said for Obamacare.” The column details how Buchanan exposed and fought against the influence of special interest groups in economic policy. “The economic school he founded, known as public-choice theory, casts a skeptical eye on government officials and bureaucrats and points out that their work might serve the public less than a very private enterprise.” Read more about James Buchanan and his life’s work here.

Recent Developments in Human Freedom News
The Freedom Collection recommends several articles this week from around the world, including: new protests in China led by journalists reported in the Los Angeles Times; an NGO crackdown in Sudan; an article from the Washington Post reporting that, amidst stifled protests, Bahrain’s highest court upheld jail terms for 20 opposition figures; and new internet monitoring system developing in Belarus. The Freedom Collection recommends articles regularly so check back here.    

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