Don’t miss Fixing Special Ed, NPRI Senior Vice President Steven Miller’s latest series on education — this one documenting the slow-moving, budget-busting tsunami of special-education costs soon to slam into the State of Nevada and its 17 school districts. The new 11-part series reveals why the existing federal-state system is breaking down, all across the U.S. — but also, the new solutions becoming available: Educational–choice options at the state level not only help special–needs students and their families with genuine customized education for the students, but also yield important savings for state budgets and taxpayers.
The education establishment is, once again, wailing that it lacks “enough” money for Nevada’s public schools. The argument, however, falls apart upon further inspection. Not only has Nevada nearly tripled its inflation-adjusted per pupil spending, but more and more evidence nationally indicates that there’s virtually no correlation between education spending and student performance. Some systems that spend vastly more than Nevada — such as the states of Alaska, West Virginia and the District of Columbia — rank significantly worse. By contrast, states that spend less than Nevada — like Arizona, Idaho and Utah — all rank significantly higher.
On a neighborhood street in Coachella Valley, California, a city code enforcement officer sent a written warning to a landlord after spotting a few chickens in the backyard of a tenant’s home. That was three years ago, and 79–year–old Ramona Morales — the landlord — thought the issue was resolved after she had her tenant get rid of the chickens. Now, however, Morales faces nearly $6,000 in fees, thanks to a law firm handling the city’s prosecutions. “If you combine capacious and vague code, where almost anything can be a violation, and you let the person who is going to enforce the code make money off of it, then the potential for abuse is just tremendous,” explained Morales’ lawyer.
Labor unions are panicked about an upcoming Supreme Court case that pits an Illinois man named Mark Janus against the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. Janus has sued AFSCME over being forced to pay union dues, even though he does not want to be a part of the union. More interestingly, union leaders are claiming that if the court rules against the union, minorities would — somehow — be disproportionately hurt if they and other workers suddenly had the freedom to exit union membership.
President Trump’s administration has started pushing to actually impose protectionist-style tariffs on various industries and imports. Not everyone, however, is on board with this idea. When Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) pointed out that past import restrictions and tariffs have caused serious damage to American consumers, the President shrugged off the concerns. The evidence, however, speaks for itself: Just like other increased taxes, tariffs are indirect taxes paid for by consumers — not bugaboo foreign interests or faceless corporations. (Read more)