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Even for-Profit Universities Are Better than America's Terrible Community Colleges

January 13, 2015 in Economics

By Neal McCluskey

Neal McCluskey

President Obama announced a plan Friday to provide free community college to any “responsible” student who wanted it.

That’s a bad idea. Community colleges perform poorly, and any additional government subsidy of these already heavily subsidized, weak performers would likely be a waste of money. For proof, compare them to much derided for-profit institutions. While these schools have their own flaws, their students do better on a variety of measures.

Take completion rates. According to the federal Digest of Education Statistics, only 19.5 percent of first-time, full-time students at two-year public schools finish their programs within 150 percent of the time they are slated to take. So less than 20 percent finish a two-year degree within three years, or, say, a 10-month certificate program within 15 months. And that rate has fallen even since 2000, when 23.6 percent of students completed.

As long as taxpayers pick up much of the college tab instead of the students consuming the education, waste will be rife.”

That statistic doesn’t change much when you account for student transfers. According to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, only 20 percent of community college students transfer to four-year institutions. Four years later, 72 percent of those have completed their degree or remain enrolled. That inches the success rate to roughly 34 percent. Meanwhile, the for-profit sector that has been so heavily demonized by the administration has an almost 63 percent completion rate at two-year institutions, and that has been rising steadily since the 2000 cohort.

How about cost?

For-profit schools are much more expensive than community college. In the 2012-13 school year, average tuition and fees at two-year public schools ran $2,792, versus $14,193 at two-year for-profits. But something interesting is going on.

Given the wide price difference, you would expect for-profit schools to be getting their lunch eaten by already dirt-cheap community colleges. They haven’t been. Between 1990 and 2010, for-profit colleges saw much faster enrollment growth than community colleges; 179 percent compared to 44 percent. Why?

There are many reasons, but one seems to be that for-profits are more responsive to students’ needs and desires than community colleges. They appear to offer more flexible scheduling, better focused training and superior student services. They can charge more in part because they provide a better service.

Of course, profit doubters offer a different explanation: For-profits are duping students. While there certainly are examples of proprietary schools offering misleading employment data, or …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Sens. Paul and Booker Participate in Sullivan University Forum on REDEEM Act – Jan. 13, 2015

January 13, 2015 in Politics & Elections

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Source: RAND PAUL

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Sens. Paul, Booker Participate in Sullivan University Forum on REDEEM Act

January 13, 2015 in Politics & Elections

Sullivan University in Louisville today hosted a forum on the REDEEM Act, the criminal justice reform legislation that has been introduced in the U.S. Senate by Sens. Rand Paul and Cory Booker. Sens. Paul and Booker participated in the forum via videoconference. Video of their remarks can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X5JqfLg22BM ‘We still have, in many ways, two Americas, where people are treated differently,’ said Sen. Paul. ‘I don’t think it’s on purpose, but people are inadvertently treated differently. The racial outcome of the War on Drugs has disproportionately incarcerated folks. I think there is a whole world open to us to reform.’ ‘Twenty-five percent of the human beings that are in prison on the planet are in the United States of America,’ said Sen. Booker. ‘Chillingly, 75 percent of those are non-violent offenders. We – as a nation that believes in freedom and empowering individuals to be successful – should evidence a justice system that should be the envy of the world. We need to have change.’ The forum was led by Professor Emeritus J. Price Foster, University of Louisville Department of Justice Administration, and Billy Easley, an attorney and member of Sen. Paul’s Washington, D.C. staff. It was held at the Sullivan University College of Pharmacy on Gardiner Lane in Louisville. Sullivan University System President Glenn Sullivan said the university was honored to host the forum. ‘Culturally, we believe in redemption, but as a society there are too many people who don’t have the opportunity to redeem themselves,’ President Sullivan said. ‘A felony conviction can prevent someone from getting a job, from getting on with their lives after making a mistake.’ ‘The REDEEM Act follows with what we are dedicated to at Sullivan University – giving people the opportunities to better and improve their lives,’ he said. ‘At Sullivan, we do it through education and career and job training. Sens. Paul and Booker are trying to do it by giving people a second chance. We applaud the Senators for filing this legislation and confronting this very important issue.’ Forum panelists included:

Libby Mills, Executive Director, Retired Juvenile Justice Practitioner;
Mike Barry, President, People Advocating Recovery;
John Rees, Retired Commissioner, Kentucky Department of Corrections;
Beth McMahon, Chief, Juvenile Trial Division, Metro Louisville Office of the Public Defender.
Dan Caudill, Owner, Caudill Seed Company
Dr. Terry Brooks, Executive Director, Kentucky Youth Advocates

The REDEEM Act will give Americans convicted of …read more

Source: RAND PAUL

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Does President Obama Support His Own Trade Agenda?

January 13, 2015 in Economics

By Daniel J. Ikenson

Daniel J. Ikenson

After languishing for eight years under the congressional leadership of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, prospects for trade liberalization are once again promising in 2015. With Republicans taking control of the Senate and increasing their majority in the House, President Obama can expect greater receptivity to his trade initiatives on Capitol Hill. But an important question lingers: Does the president actually support his own trade agenda?

That may seem like a silly question, particularly to those who talk about trade as a “legacy” issue for the president, but steadfast resolve has not been his strong suit. So far President Obama has been unwilling to make an affirmative case for how the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement will be good for the country or why Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) is needed to secure that agreement. He must do that right now — even though it will earn him scorn from the Left — lest the privilege of implementing these necessary economic reforms will fall to his successor.

Through the first three quarters of his tenure, President Obama has been more a follower than a leader on trade. During 2009-2010, Democrats controlled both chambers of Congress, and leadership was unabashedly hostile toward trade, shifting the policy emphasis from liberalization and integration to protection and enforcement, even refusing to hold votes on completed agreements with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama. The new president bowed to the prevailing climate and trade liberalization came to a halt.

If he wants to be remembered as a president who expanded Americans’ freedom to trade, he must advocate effectively for his agenda.”

Out of necessity more than conviction, the president lent his support to passage of those pending trade agreements after the GOP took control of the House in 2011. Following a mid-term “shellacking” that reflected deep public disenchantment over the state of the economy, President Obama needed to accommodate some Republican demands to reduce the “regime uncertainty” that had been deterring business investment and hiring since the recession. Trade liberalization, the president reckoned, offered the economic reform path with the fewest obstacles. At about the same time, the president announced his policy “pivot” to Asia, featuring the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations as its economic centerpiece, which seemingly put the administration “all in” on trade.

But while the U.S. Trade Representative labored at the task of advancing and expanding the TPP negotiations, President Obama neglected his responsibilities to …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Politico Op-Ed: No, the GOP Is Not at War With Science

January 13, 2015 in Politics & Elections

Since our founding, America’s economic strength and national security have depended on scientists and innovators to promote growth and prosperity. Both public and private investments in research and development fuel the economy, create jobs and lead to new technologies that benefit Americans’ daily lives.

But to remain a world leader, the United States must ensure that our investments are funding not just any science but the best science.

Our national debt is more than $18 trillion, and the American taxpayer is hurting. If we, as a country, have decided to spend taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars on funding science and research, then we need to spend wisely. Every dollar spent by the federal government must be spent just as the typical family deals with spending decisions on car payments, child care, food purchases and housing needs.

So how do U.S. research agencies decide what types of research are deserving of limited federal funds? And how do we assure hardworking American families that their tax dollars are being spent only on the highest priority research that is in the national interest? Unfortunately, in recent years, the federal government has awarded taxpayer dollars toward research that few Americans would consider to be in the national interest.

For example, it is Congress’ constitutional responsibility to ask questions when the National Science Foundation decides to spend public funds on a climate change-themed musical ($700,000) or an investigation of tea party activity on social media ($919,000) or to study bicycle designs ($300,000). Other examples of questionable grants funded by the NSF include:

Ancient Icelandic textile industry: $487,049

Eco consequences of early human-set fires in New Zealand: $339,958

History of Chiapas, Mexico (350 B.C.-A.D. 1350): $280,558

Mayan architecture and the salt industry: $233,141

Do Turkish women wear veils because they are fashionable?: $199,088

How local Asian Indian politicians can improve their performance: $425,000

Lawsuits in Peru from 1600-1700: $50,000

Similarly, the National Institutes of Health has engaged in the funding of wasteful projects like $258,000 on a website for the first lady’s White House garden.

These programs might sound merely frivolous, but the problem is that when the NSF or NIH funds projects of these kinds, there is less money to support good scientific research that can yield technological breakthroughs and opportunities for economic growth. Ebola-related scientific research is something that Americans want to prioritize, yet this important research is competing with wasteful grants.

Unfortunately, the academic community …read more

Source: RAND PAUL

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Federalism, Then and Now

January 13, 2015 in Economics

By Roger Pilon

Roger Pilon

Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1995, a perplexed Governor Ben Nelson remarked, “When I was elected governor in 1990 and prepared my first budget, I honestly wondered if I was actually elected governor or just branch manager of the state of Nebraska for the federal government.” He could have been speaking for any governor. Yet during the Senate’s Obamacare machinations in 2009, then Senator Ben Nelson cast the crucial 60th vote for cloture after negotiating the infamous “Cornhusker Kickback”—“free” money for Nebraska, strings attached.

There was a time in America when the federal government focused mainly on national concerns, the states on state and local matters, like the health and welfare of their citizens. That division of powers, the Constitution’s federalism, was never exact, of course, and it shifted over time, but it remained largely intact for a century and a half. During the New Deal, however, it was upended. Today, under what’s called “cooperative federalism,” the federal government’s tentacles reach into almost every area of life, areas once thought the exclusive domain of state and local governments—or of no governments at all. And the result, as former Senator James L. Buckley writes in his new book, Saving Congress From Itself, is “runaway spending that threatens to bankrupt us and a Congress that appears unable to deal with long-term problems of any consequence.”

Focusing only on federal programs that offer funds to states and localities to be used as Washington dictates, which have grown from $24.1 billion in 1970 to an estimated $640.8 billion in 2015, Senator Buckley draws on his own Senate experience in the 1970s plus a cascading body of subsequent evidence to catalogue the vast array of costs those programs impose on our very system of government. Before judging this as entirely Washington’s fault, however, we would do well to consult a dense 2012 tome by Professor Michael Greve, The Upside-Down Constitution; it turns out that the demise of federalism is more complicated than it seems, and the states themselves are far from blameless.

In fact, of all the “auxiliary precautions” the Founders crafted to control government, beyond “a dependence on the people,” none is more complex than James Madison’s “compound republic,” which helps explain why so much constitutional litigation has concerned this one issue. Yet as I discussed in these pages in the Fall of 2013 when government overreach was the theme, here too the heart …read more

Source: OP-EDS