The Locker Room

July 22, 2010

New Carolina Journal Online exclusive

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 12:34 AM

The latest Carolina Journal Online exclusive features a report on U.S. Senate and House candidates' positions on expiring federal tax cuts. This is the first of two reports on the topic.

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An outside observer comments on the Wake Co. school battle

Posted by George Leef at 11:07 AM

Neal McCluskey, one of the education experts at Cato Institute, comments on the nasty battle in Wake County here.

McCluskey advances the Gordian Knot-cutting solution: educational freedom.

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Politicized "controlled choice" or real parental educational choice

Posted by Dr. Michael Sanera at 10:40 AM

The N&O reports here that the Wake County School Board’s Student Assignment Committee will hear from Michael Alves, a Boston-based education consultant.

Mr. Alves has helped other school districts develop “controlled choice” plans. At first glance, this might appear to be a positive development, but Mr. Alves is an outspoken critic of school choice plans that have closed the achievement gap and improved student achievement.

Specifically, Mr. Alves and his colleagues criticize the research of John Chubb and Terry Moe, co-authors of Politics, Markets & America’s Schools. Chubb and Moe’s research is based on data from more than 500 schools and more than 20,000 students. Their research shows that student achievement will only improve when districts de-politicize their operations by transferring power to parents who are able to select the school that best meets their children’s needs. Unencumbered parental choice, not politicized “controlled choice,” is the way to improve the education of all of Wake County’s students.

My op-ed in the N&O describes how the Wake County schools could transition into such a parental choice plan:

Bold reform means abandoning the failed top-down, central-office planning model in which parents, teachers, principals and students often feel that they are victims of school board and central office decisions.Instead, the district needs a bottom-up system that gives parents, teachers,principals and students real decision-making power.

At a minimum, the Student Assignment Committee should also hear from Stanford University Professor Terry Moe, who would give the committee an alternative to the Mr. Alves politicized “controlled choice” option. The committee should also consider hearing from Dr. Jay Greene, who is the head of the Department of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas and author of Education Myths: What Special-Interest Groups Want You to Believe About Our Schools and Why it Isn’t So.

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This regime's insufferable cynicism

Posted by Jon Sanders at 10:35 AM

Many economists and experts and essentially people who don't think that government is some combination of God and Willy Wonka, able to produce magical goodies out of thin air, have increasingly fled the dollar and begun investing in gold.

So what's a desperate statist regime to do? Put more taxes in that health care takeover that "isn't a tax."

Per ABC:

Starting Jan. 1, 2012, Form 1099s will become a means of reporting to the Internal Revenue Service the purchases of all goods and services by small businesses and self-employed people that exceed $600 during a calendar year. Precious metals such as coins and bullion fall into this category and coin dealers have been among those most rankled by the change.

This provision, intended to mine what the IRS deems a vast reservoir of uncollected income tax, was included in the health care legislation ostensibly as a way to pay for it.

What a twisted definition of taxable income: protecting your wealth from being virtually wiped out by rampaging inflation. It's like being told you've grown taller when you were one of the few people the government didn't chop off at the knees.

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Latest dispatches from the campaign trail

Posted by David N. Bass at 09:42 AM

  • Thom Goolsby, GOP candidate in the 9th state Senate District, has a fundraising edge over his Democratic foe, Jim Leutze, but much of it is self-funded.

  • Public Policy Polling: Almost every Republican candidate for U.S. Senate has poor numbers this cycle, but they might still win because of the poor climate for Democrats.

  • Democracy North Carolina report shows that incumbents have a 5-to-1 fundraising advantage.

  • N.C. Democrats to hold convention in Fayetteville.

  • lists Larry Kissell’s seat (8th) as “lean Republican” and Heath Shuler’s seat (11th) as “likely Dem."

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Brookings: Health, parenting programs do not increase student achievement

Posted by Dr. Terry Stoops at 09:41 AM

Brookings researchers studied the relationship between social services (provided by schools like the Harlem Children's Zone (HCZ) charter school) and student achievement. They concluded,

There is no compelling evidence that investments in parenting classes, health services, nutritional programs, and community improvement in general have appreciable effects on student achievement in schools in the U.S. Indeed there is considerable evidence in addition to the results from the present study that questions the return on such investments for academic achievement.


President Obama was a community organizer before he was a politician, so it is natural that his instincts are to invest in community programs. But President Obama has repeatedly called for doing what works. Doing what works depends on evidence not instincts. There is no evidence that the HCZ influences student achievement through neighborhood investments. There is considerable evidence that schools can have dramatic effects on the academic skills of disadvantaged children without their providing broader social services. Improving neighborhoods and communities is a desirable goal in its own right, but let’s not confuse it with education reform. (Emphasis added)

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The government and jobs

Posted by George Leef at 09:12 AM

Today's Wall Street Journal includes several good letters concerning the Obama claim that large numbers of jobs have been "created or saved" due to his gusher of federal spending. Here's one from a man in Charlotte that is right on target:

People are hired only when they contribute toward business's profitability. If the only reason they are hired is because the employer is bribed (in the form of a stimulus) to hire them, then the "job" that they are hired for isn't a real job.

To believe that government spending "creates" jobs is the real "voodoo economics."

Stephen V. Gilmore

Charlotte, N.C.

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Forbes says change is going to come

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 07:16 AM

Forbes Media chairman and CEO Steve Forbes still believes capitalism will save us from our current economic woes.

In a one-on-one interview last night at a Heritage Foundation event in Durham, he shared his ideas with See highlights by clicking play below.

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New Carolina Journal Online features

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 07:01 AM

The latest Carolina Journal Online exclusive features a report on the John Locke Foundation's new Agenda 2010, a guide to policy issues important to voters, taxpayers, and candidates seeking public office in North Carolina. 

John Hood's Daily Journal explains why Americans would be better off if our system for financing health care was more like that used in Europe or Japan.

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