Blog Post by: Harold Pollack, on May 1, 2013
I’m more of a Tom Friedman fan than most of my progressive friends. But I believe he whiffed badly, and instructively, with today’s column: “It’s a 401(k) world.”
Friedman energetically presents his usual “world is flat” thesis that Americans must adjust to living in a rewired, more meritocratic, hyper-connected, and competitive world:
We now live in a 401(k) world—a world of defined contributions, not defined benefits—where everyone needs to pass the bar exam and no one can escape the most e-mailed list…
Blog Post by: Benjamin Landy, on May 1, 2013
Over at Quartz, Matt Phillips has a good post summarizing "everything you need to know" about the student loan story (in 17 charts, of course). All the usual data points are there—the massive upswing in total student debt as more students clamber for an ever-more expensive degree; the recent surge in delinquencies as millions of underemployed twenty-somethings fail to make their payments on time; the growth of the federal student lending market in response to the financial crisis.
But what is missing in Phillips' post, as in too many articles about student borrowing, is any acknowledgement of two critical facts. First, three out of four undergraduates in the United States attend a public college or university—only about 15 percent attend the costlier private schools that get so much attention in the press. And second, state funding for those public colleges and universities has collapsed over the last two decades, forcing students and their families to pay the difference.
Blog Post by: Peter Osnos, on May 1, 2013
For decades, a ritual took place at the Washington Post almost every afternoon around 4:00 p.m. Herbert Block, whose signature was Herblock but who was known to all in the newsroom as Herb, would emerge from his spectacularly untidy office among the row of editorial writers and make his way across the floor clutching a half-dozen pencil sketches. In those years—culminating in 2001, when Herblock died at age 91, only weeks after the publication of his last cartoon—the pace at that point in the day in the sprawling news floor was beginning to reach a noisy culmination of typing clatter and chatter, as reporters and editors devised and refined the copy that would fill the daily from the front page to the crime shorts and obituaries. There was a rhythm to the flow of activity that in retrospect had an irresistible energy that has largely been replaced in the digital age by technology and the deepening belief that the era of newspapers—at least as practiced in Herblock’s years—is a relic of bygone times.
Blog Post by: The Century Foundation, on May 1, 2013
On May 23, The Century Foundation will release the findings and recommendations of its Community College Task Force.
Our 22-member task force has exhaustively combed through the latest and best research on higher education to address whether we should rethink the basic ways in which our nation’s two-year colleges are financed and governed.
Now we want to know how community college changed your life.
Tell us about your experiences in community college. Did it prepare you transfer to a four-year institution? Land you a good job? Allow you to get an education while holding down a job or raising a family?
Or did it not work out for you? If things didn’t go as planned, what could community colleges do better? And what should policymakers do to strengthen community colleges?
Send us the story of your community college experience. Use whatever format you’d like: record a video, write a blog post, or draw us a picture. Whichever you choose, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll print the best ones here at Blog of the Century.
Blog Post by: Richard D. Kahlenberg, on April 30, 2013
When the late Albert Shanker was president of the American Federation of Teachers, he was a strong advocate of national standards for what students should know and be able to do. Other high-achieving countries articulate desired destinations for students, he said, and it makes little sense to have 50 different state targets. “Should children in Alabama learn a different kind of math or science from children in New York?” he asked.
Shanker, who died in 1997, never saw national standards, as a coalition of testing opponents on the left and opponents of federal leadership on the right stymied advances. National standards also were the victim of poor implementation. An early stab at national history standards, released in October 1994, were widely decried for their political bias, and resulted in a 99–1 vote of condemnation in the U.S. Senate.
Blog Post by: Andrew Fieldhouse, on April 30, 2013
Last week, The Century Foundation hosted a Twitter chat (see the Storify) in which Mike Konczal of the Roosevelt Institute, TCF fellow Mark Thoma and I discussed the Reinhart and Rogoff kerfuffle and its implications for the policy debate over austerity. Nearly every facet of this incident has been thoroughly covered in the blogosphere—see Mike’s post for a summary of the Herndon, Ash, and Pollin (2013) paper debunking R&R; Arindrajit Dube’s post on reverse causation; my colleague Josh Bivens’ post on R&R’s response to reverse causation criticism; Paul Krugman on R&R’s obfuscating rebuttal; and Dean Baker’s post on R&R’s purported role in the policy debate.
Blog Post by: Andrew Fieldhouse, on April 30, 2013
As Congress pursues comprehensive tax reform, policymakers have made numerous references the 1986 Tax Reform Act, which has been the principle framework for overhaul to date.
The 1986 reforms are revered because they succeeded politically, passing a divided Congress and enacted by a lame-duck president. Comprehensive reform today similarly would have to overcome major political hurdles, particularly Republican intransigence over raising revenue. Yet many policymakers today seem unaware that 1986-style reform is no longer viable.
Blog Post by: Greg Anrig, on April 30, 2013
Back in 2010, I wrote an article for the journal Democracy and then a longer issue brief for the New America Foundation arguing that Medicaid, the joint federal-state health insurance program for low-income Americans and many nursing home residents, should be completely federalized. Now, as part of New America’s newly released opus Renewing the American Social Contract, I make the argument anew in the context of developments since the enactment of the Affordable Care Act.
Blog Post by: The Century Foundation, on April 29, 2013
This winner of this week’s #TCFBest is from The Border House Blog, All Skulls On: Teaching Intersectionality through Halo, by Samantha Allen (@CousinDangereux). Allen, a gender and sexuality studies Ph.D student at Emory University, writes about an experiment she used to teach her Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies 100 class to explore forms of oppression and privilege centering on race, gender identity, ability, sex, class and sexual orientation. Allen used the popular video game, Halo as an engaging, interactive metaphor for her students to think about privilege, oppression, and intersectionality.
Blog Post by: Joe Miller, on April 26, 2013
Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff’s (R&R) 2010 paper, “Growth in a Time of Debt” has served as a kind of intellectual fig leaf for conservatives who proceeded to cut programs for the poor in the name of “austerity.” Turns out that the entire paper was premised on an Excel error.
Now R&R have taken to the pages of the New York Times where they defend themselves while continuing to cling to a belief that austerity is a legitimate reaction to a recession, despite a complete lack of theoretical—and, as it turns out, empirical—evidence for doing so.
Yesterday, Century Foundation economists took to Twitter to explain why it’s time for R&R to stop digging.
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