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A Fair Comparison: U.S. Students Lag in Math and Science

The notion that America’s public school problems are confined to inner cities, and that our wealthy suburbs produce world-beating high school graduates, is a myth.

Watkins Debacle Shows Need for Basic Education Reforms

If the Michigan Board of Education, Gov. Jennifer Granholm and the state Legislature hope to regain any credibility with the public, they must now show that they are serious about helping kids — and not just exiling people who offer straight talk about the system.

The “Payless Payday”

What’s the moral for state leaders today? The lasting and meaningful question is always, “Am I doing the right thing?”

Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington and Liberty

We cannot know what views Douglass and Washington might hold if they were alive today. But it’s worth remembering that the injustice and racial discrimination they faced in their era were at least as unforgiving as any persecution experienced in America in recent decades.

Creating Clear Signals on Telecom

Telecom firms are understandably reluctant to invest in markets where regulators wield power arbitrarily.

The Great Emigration

If people are the lifeblood of a city, then Detroit is bleeding to death. Staunching the flow will require a dramatic improvement in the city’s schools.

A New Beginning: Ending the Single Business Tax

Only eliminating the SBT and ensuring a bold net reduction in business taxes can begin to trump Michigan’s other handicaps in its economic competition with other states and nations. Even eliminating the SBT and cutting state spending dollar-for-dollar is not impossible; the Mackinac Center for Public Policy has detailed billions in potential state budget savings in areas like Medicaid, education and corrections.

Michigan at the Crossroads

The world economy is relentlessly, ruthlessly competitive. Michigan has no entitlement to a healthy economic future. Unless Lansing finds the courage to abandon “business‑as‑usual,” the state’s economy — and the people of Michigan — will fall further and further behind.

Profit Has a Role in Public Schools

Maybe what’s needed in the public schools is more profit, not less. Think about it: Where is the crisis in public education these days? Is it in the availability of desks, food or computers, or in other areas provided by the for-profit private sector? The crisis concerns the classroom — the part delivered by government, regulated by legislatures and supervised by district bureaucracies.

New Year’s Resolution: A Taxpayer Bill of Rights

At the end of fiscal 2000, Michigan budget officials informed lawmakers that the treasury had received $600 million more than had been budgeted. Rather than return it to taxpayers, state legislators went on a spending spree that included a new polar bear exhibit for the Detroit Zoo.

The Changing UAW

In innovative and very pragmatic new contracts with Ford, Chrysler and leading suppliers Delphi Corp. and Visteon Corp., the UAW finally consented to different levels of compensation for members who previously were entitled to the same, famously rich packages.

The Golden Calf of Democracy

In spite of this year’s candidates singing interminable paeans to “our democracy,” America is thankfully not one and never has been. Our founders established a republic, modifying democracy considerably.

Mental Health Care Reform Should Put Patients First

State compliance requirements divert enormous resources toward monitoring the process followed by local mental health authorities, while doing little to measure whether patients in the system actually get better.

Should You Fear School Choice?

For the past 87 years, the Netherlands has enjoyed a universal, nationwide school-voucher program. Dutch high school seniors and recent graduates score first in the world in mathematics, second in science and fourth in literacy.

“Milking the Cow” of State Development Departments (Viewpoint on Public Issues)

We cannot lose sight of the fact that selective favors discriminate against those who do not receive them and distract policymakers from the broader business-climate reforms that would benefit everybody.

Did Anybody Really Know What Time It Was?

“In every city and town,” historian Stewart Holbrook wrote in 1947, “the multiplicity of time standards confused and ewildered passengers, shippers and railway employees. Too often, errors and mistakes turned out disastrously. …”

Why Socialized Health Care in Canada Is Not the Model to Follow

“[Canadian health care] produces inferior age-adjusted access to physicians and technology, produces longer waiting times, is less successful in preventing deaths from preventable causes and costs more than any of the other [health care] systems that have comparable objectives.” — The Fraser Institute of Vancouver, British Columbia

Going Broke by Degree

I have looked carefully at the relationship between economic growth and state spending on universities. I found a strong negative relationship — higher state spending equals lower rates of economic growth.

The Record of “Economic Development” Policy in Michigan

Between 1995 and 2003, Michigan finished 51st among the 50 states and the District of Columbia in employment growth.

When Politics Trumps Science

There’s no shortage of examples in which public policy has proved deadly when divorced from science.