Paul Peterson makes a strong case for school choice in central cities, and coeditor Bryan Hassel offers the case for charter schools. John E. Brandl offers his vision of school governance in the next century. The book's other contributors--economists, political scientists, and education specialists--provide case studies of the experience with voucher programs in Indianapolis, San Antonio, Cleveland, and Milwaukee; survey charter schools; analyze public school choice; discuss constitutional issues; and study the effects of private education on democratic values.
Contributors include David J. Armor, George Mason University; Chester E. Finn Jr. and Bruno V. Manno, Hudson Institute; Caroline M. Hoxby, Harvard University; Brett M. Peiser, Partnerships in Learning; and Joseph P. Viteritti, New York University.
• Divisions between teachers and the public are wider and deeper than differences between other groups often thought to contest school policy, such as Republicans and Democrats, the young and the old, the rich and the poor, or African Americans and whites.
• The teacher-public gap is widest on such issues as merit pay, teacher tenure reform, impact of teacher unions, school vouchers, charter schools, and requirements to test students annually.
• Public support for school vouchers for all students, charter schools, and parent trigger laws increases sharply when people are informed of the national ranking of student performance in their local school district.
• Public willingness to give local schools high marks, its readiness to support higher spending levels, and its support for teacher unions all decline when the public learns the national ranking of their local schools.
• On most issues, teacher opinion does not change in response to new information nearly as much as it does for the public as a whole. In fact, the gap between what teachers and the public think about school reform grows even wider when both teachers and the public are given more information about current school performance, current expenditure levels, and current teacher pay.
The book provides the first experimental study of public and teacher opinion. Using a recently developed research strategy, the authors ask differently worded questions about the same topic to randomly chosen segments of representative groups of citizens. This approach allows them to identify the impact on public opinion of new information on issues such as student performance and school expenditures in each respondent's community.
The changes in public opinion when citizens receive information about school performance are largest in districts that perform below the national average. Altogether, the results indicate that support for many school reforms would increase if common core state standards were established and implemented in such a way as to inform the public about the quality of their local schools. These and many other findings illuminate the distance between teacher opinions and those of the public at large.
About the Research: In partnership with the Harvard Program on Education Policy and Governance and the journal, Education Next, authors Paul E. Peterson, Martin West and Michael Henderson surveyed nationally representative samples of teachers and the public as a whole annually between 2007 and 2013.
In When Federalism Works, Paul E. Peterson, Barry G. Rabe, and Kenneth K. Wong examine the new conventional wisdom about federal grants. Through documentary research and hundreds of interviews with local, state, and federal administrators and elected officials, they consider the implementation and operation of federal programs for education, health care, and housing in four urban areas to learn which programs worked, when, and why. Why did rent subsidy programs encounter seemingly endless difficulties, while special education was a notable success? Why did compensatory education fare better in Milwaukee than in Baltimore? Among the factors the authors find significant are the extent to which a program is directed toward groups in need, the political and economic circumstances of the area in which it is implemented, and the degree of professionalism among those who administer it at all levels of government.
When Federalism Works provides a solid introduction to the most important grant-in-aid programs of the past twenty years and a thoughtful assessment of where they might be going.
The states differ widely in their assessment of what a family needs to meet a reasonable standard of living, and the interstate differences in welfare benefits cannot be explained by variations in wage levels or costs of living. The states with higher welfare benefits act as magnets by attracting or retaining poor people. In the competition to avoid becoming welfare havens, states have cut welfare benefits in real dollars by more than one-third since 1970. The authors propose the establishment of a minimum federal welfare standard, which would both reduce the interstate variation in welfare benefits and stem their overall decline.
Peterson and Rom develop their argument in four steps. First they show how the politics of welfare magnets works in a case study of policymaking in Wisconsin. Second, they present their analysis of the overall magnet effect in American state politics, finding evidence that states with high welfare benefits experiencing disproportionate growth in their poverty rates make deeper welfare cuts. Third, they describe the process by which the current system came into being, identifying the reform efforts and political crises that have contributed to the centralization of welfare policy as well as the regional, partisan, and group interests that have resisted these changes. Finally, the authors propose a practical step that can go a long way toward achieving a national welfare standard; then assess it's cost, benefits, and political feasibility.
Howell shows that an appetite for power may not inform the original motivations of those who seek to become president. Rather, this need is built into the office of the presidency itself--and quickly takes hold of whoever bears the title of Chief Executive. In order to understand the modern presidency, and the degrees to which a president succeeds or fails, the acquisition, protection, and expansion of power in a president's political life must be recognized--in policy tools and legislative strategies, the posture taken before the American public, and the disregard shown to those who would counsel modesty and deference within the White House.
Thinking about the Presidency assesses how the search for and defense of presidential powers informs nearly every decision made by the leader of the nation. In a new preface, Howell reflects on presidential power during the presidency of Barack Obama.
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Learn how American politics affect public policy
Government in America : People, Politics and Policy - 2016 Presidential Election(Subscription), 17/e, explores our government’s impact on the daily lives of Americans by focusing on public policy. Authors George Edwards and Martin Wattenberg provide a framework for students to understand the difficult questions that decision makers of both political parties are facing: How should we govern? And, what should government do? In order to boost student engagement with key concepts, the 2016 Elections incorporates coverage of contemporary issues that dominate today’s headlines, as well as the most up-to-date data.
In Relic, William Howell and Terry Moe point to the Constitution as the main culprit. The framers designed a government for a simple, agrarian society—and that government is unsuited to a huge, complex, post-industrial nation the founders did not even remotely foresee. Howell and Moe argue that we need a second Progressive movement to bring reform to American government, above all by strengthening the power of the president. Relic challenges us to reconsider the very foundation of our political system, shedding new light on what is wrong with our government and what can be done about it.
The attendant political controversies have become the debate of a generation. Paul Peterson and Daniel Nadler have assembled experts from both sides of the Atlantic to break down the structural flaws in federal systems of government that have led to economic and political turmoil. Proposed solutions offer ways to preserve and restore vibrant federal systems that meet the needs of communities struggling for survival in an increasingly unified global economy.
Contributors: Andrew G. Biggs (American Enterprise Institute); César Colino (National Distance Education University, Madrid); Eloísa del Pino (Instituto de Políticas y Bienes Públicos, Madrid); Henrik Enderlein (Hertie School of Governance, Berlin); Cory Koedel (University of Missouri); Carlos Xabel Lastra-Anadón (Harvard University); Daniel Nadler (Harvard University); Shawn Ni (University of Missouri); Amy Nugent (Government of Ontario, Canada); James Pearce (Mowat Centre, University of Toronto, Canada); Paul E. Peterson (Harvard University); Michael Podgursky (University of Missouri); Jason Richwine (Washington, D.C.); Jonathan Rodden (Stanford Uni versity); Daniel Shoag (Harvard University); Richard Simeon (University of Toronto, Canada); Camillo von Müller (University of St. Gallen, Switzerland, and Leuphana University, Germany); Daniel Ziblatt (Harvard University)
For example, the authors consider the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), an international mathematics examination. America is stuck in the middle of average scores, barely beating out European countries whose national economies are in the red zone. U.S. performance as measured against stronger economies is even weaker—in total, 32 nations outperformed the United States. The authors also delve into comparative reading scores. A mere 31 percent of U.S. students in the class of 2011 could perform at the "proficient" level as measured by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) program, compared with South Korea's result of 47 percent. And while some observers may downplay the significance of cross-globe comparisons, they should note that Canadian students are dramatically outpacing their U.S. counterparts as well.
Clearly something is wrong with this picture, and this book clearly explicates the costs of inaction. The time for incremental tweaking the system is long past—wider, deeper, and more courageous steps are needed, as this book amply demonstrates with accessible prose, supported with hard data that simply cannot be ignored.