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What We’re Reading | November 16, 2012

February 1, 2013 by Jacqueline Lowe

Arthur Levine: The Suburban Education Gap
Arthur Levine writes in the Wall Street Journal about the suburban education gap between the American students and students around the world. Levine uses the Bush Institute’s Global Report Card to show that even students at top U.S. suburban schools are underperforming when compared with students in countries such as Finland, Singapore and Canada. Levine points out that while many of us are concerned with the gap between urban and suburban schools within the U.S., not nearly enough parents and teachers are even aware of this international education gap. “The problem America faces, then, is that its urban school districts perform inadequately compared with their suburban counterparts, and its suburban districts generally perform inadequately compared with their international counterparts. The domestic achievement gap means that the floor for student performance in America is too low, and the international achievement gap signals that the same is true of the ceiling. America's weakest school districts are failing their students and the nation, and so are many of America's strongest.” The Global Report Card will have new and updated data later this month.

UN Health Fund Names New Chief
The Financial Times reports on the selection of the new Executive Director of The UN-backed Global Fund to Fight Aids, TB and Malaria, Ambassador Mark Dybul. Ambassador Dybul was the inaugural Global Health Fellow at the George W. Bush Institute, and was instrumental in the founding of Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon. Ambassador Dybul was also the former head of PEPFAR, the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, launched by President George W. Bush. Regarding his new position Ambassador Dybul said, “At this unique moment when we have scientific advances, we will redouble our efforts to raise resources, have incredible focus on impact and high value for money.”

Circling the Cliff
David Malpass of the 4% Growth Project takes a look at the looming fiscal cliff and outlines what it might mean for taxpayers and investors. He discusses inevitable tax increases and what the government needs to do to avert the cliff. In the end, he predicts a continuation of slow economic growth. “We expect growth to remain weak under current policies. Legislation during the lame duck is unlikely to fix the long-term uncertainty in the tax code. Equally troublesome, the legal restraints on federal spending and regulatory authority aren’t strong enough to restrain the government’s rapid expansion. This dampens business investment and points to continued weak growth.”

A New Agenda for Growth
On the 4% Growth Project’s blog, John Prestbo looks at two different articles about economic growth recently published in TIME Magazine. The two articles present different strategies to achieve economic growth but Prestbo points out how important it is for all ideas to be debated: “We need all the help we can get in advocating the steps required to accelerate U.S. economic growth to 4% annually.” One article advocates for tax reform, while the other deals with our need for infrastructure investment. Prestbo is less concerned with who the authors are and the merits of their ideas, but more struck by the importance of these discussions and the need for more of them, especially in the mainstream media. “Journalists are not policy makers, but they do have the capability of putting ideas directly to the people who are. Let’s hope the policy folks are reading, and listening.”