Third Way Perspectives
Archive for September, 2011
September 23rd, 2011
This piece was originally posted by The Wall Street Journal.
Last December, in an NFL game between the Tennessee Titans and the Houston Texans, two Houston teammates were involved in an on-field brawl – with each other. While the Texans fought, the Titans scored and, not surprisingly, won the game 31-17.
Washington has been doing much the same with pending trade deals with South Korea, Colombia and Panama. While the many supporters of these trade deals have been battling and bickering, America’s international competitors have been running up the score – and America’s companies and workers are losing out.
The Obama Administration and leading Congressional Republicans agree that these trade agreements would create needed economic growth and good American jobs. American business, state and local leaders and many Congressional Democrats also support these deals. The Senate Finance Trade Subcommittee estimates that just the tariff reductions on goods under the Korean trade deal would create some 280,000 U.S. jobs, while opening Korea’s sheltered $580 billion services market would create additional American jobs in key service sectors. Read the rest of this entry »
September 21st, 2011
The goal of our recent report “Incomplete: How Middle-Class Schools Aren’t Making the Grade” was to jumpstart a national conversation around the state of middle-class schools. Given the response, it looks like we’re off to a good start.
We’ve received a wide range of feedback from educators, policymakers, and thought leaders who share a common purpose—getting our kids ready to succeed in the 21st century. Since a portion of the response has focused on our definition of “middle-class” or our approach to school-by-school data, we wanted to take a moment to tackle some of the issues that have been raised.
It seems that the main point of contention that some have with our report has to do with how we define a middle-class school.
To sum up their argument, they find our use of eligibility statistics for free or reduced school lunch to be either arbitrary or too sweeping. Let us be clear: Our decision to use this criteria was a deliberate choice, grounded in established procedures and data.
With the current education reform debate almost entirely focused on low-income schools and students, we wanted to shed light on the schools in the middle that serve a majority of Americans. We paralleled the U.S. Department of Education’s definition of high poverty schools and districts as those with more than 75% of students qualifying for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). Schools and districts with 25% or less of their students eligible for free or reduced lunch are the upper-end of the income spectrum. In essence, the middle two quartiles of schools are middle-class schools. Read the rest of this entry »
September 20th, 2011
This piece was originally posted The National Journal Expert Blog.
The real question we should ask about Solyndra is, “When did Americans stop tolerating risk?”
Loan guarantees inherently carry risk. If they didn’t, the loans wouldn’t need guarantors. The U.S. Department of Energy’s program was designed specifically to fund cutting-edge innovations that could not secure sufficient private capital. That’s the way to help potentially breakthrough technologies get off the ground without picking specific winners and losers. The expectation is that a handful of these companies might succeed spectacularly and that some of these companies would fail. This risk was explicitly built into the program by Congress and the Bush Administration at its inception. Read the rest of this entry »