Thanks for your replies.
http://www.upi.com/Top_News/2008/11/19/US-slipping-in-education-rankings/UPI-90221227104776/U.S. slipping in education rankings
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Published: Nov. 19, 2008 at 9:26 AM
WASHINGTON, Nov. 19 (UPI) -- The United States
is no longer the world leader in secondary education, according to the rankings of an international organization.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development places the United States 18th among the 36 nations examined, USA Today reported Wednesday.
Headed to the top of the heap is South Korea where 93 percent of high school students graduate on time compared with the United States where 75 percent receive their diplomas.
The seemingly downward trend of U.S. education worries economists.
"The United States has rested on its laurels way too long," Jacob Funk Kirkegaard of the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington, told USA Today. "Other countries have increasingly caught up and surpassed the United States."
"We've been asleep for a good number of years as a country," says Richard Freeman, an economics professor at Harvard. "It's not that we're doing horrible. But the other guys are moving faster."
Find this article at http://www.newsweek.com/id/73110Reading: Up or Down?
U.S. education statistics show improved literacy for fourth-graders. But a new global study finds more countries jumping ahead of the United States.
By Peg Tyre | Newsweek Web Exclusive
Nov 30, 2007 | Updated: 4:00 p.m. ET Nov 30, 2007
There's been a lot of hand wringing about how the United States is falling behind in science education. Now, it looks as though America may be losing its edge in reading and literacy, too. Six years after No Child Left Behind was signed into law—and U.S. schools began throwing resources into teaching all kinds of kids to read and read well—fourth-graders in the United States are doing no better in reading than they were in 2001, according to the results of an international reading test released this week.
Fourth-grade students from 10 countries and jurisdictions—including Russia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Italy, Sweden and Canada—did better than American kids, according to the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) released by Boston College. In 2001 only three countries did better than U.S. kids in reading.
Here's what's puzzling: If you believe the numbers the U.S. Department of Education churns out, the reading scores of American fourth-graders should be rising. According to the most recent National Assessment of Educational Progress scores, known as the Nation’s Report Card, fourth-grade reading scores have improved—and not just a little. Between 2001 and 2007, according to the Department of Education, reading scores for fourth-graders jumped eight points, from 213 to 221. Eighth-grade reading scores have remained flat.
Those national scores have been hailed by supporters of No Child Left Behind as evidence that the controversial federal education reform law is working. To be sure, teachers are doing their level best to comply. To make sure kids meet the state guidelines, as the law mandates, classrooms—even in kindergarten and first grade—have adopted literacy-soaked curriculums and focused more of the school day on reading instruction, often at the expense of recess, gym and even science and social studies. The PIRLS data confirms that the hours teacher spend on explicit reading instruction is higher in the United States than the international average.
So why are American kids falling behind internationally? Maybe because school can't do everything. According to a report released last week by the National Endowment for the Arts, 60 percent of 8-to-10-year-olds report reading less than 30 minutes a day for pleasure. Almost 40 percent read less than five minutes a day. At the same time, the governments in Hong Kong and Singapore, which leapfrogged over the United States' test scores between 2001 and 2007, have launched massive public awareness campaigns touting the importance of reading in school and at home.
Anyone for a trip to the library?
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/09/22/AR2008092202563.html?nav=rss_email/componentsData Show Big Dip in Migration To the U.S.
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By N.C. Aizenman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
The number of immigrants coming to the United States slowed substantially in 2007, with the nation's foreign-born population growing by only 511,000, compared with about a million a year since 2000, according to Census figures released today.
In 14 states, the foreign-born population declined, including in such traditional immigrant gateways as New Jersey and Illinois and such newer destinations as Nebraska, South Dakota and Kansas.
The Washington area's immigrant population continued to grow, but much more slowly, increasing by 25,916, compared with average yearly increases of 37,091 since 2000.
Demographers said the data, which were part of a diverse release of social, economic and housing characteristics, reflected the economic slowdown.
"I think this shows that immigrants are keeping an eye on the economy when they make their decision on whether to come or where to live in the United States," said William H. Frey, a researcher with the Brookings Institution who analyzed the numbers. "When the economy appears to be in decline -- particularly for the kind of construction, retail and service jobs that immigrants are inclined to take -- they are less attracted to us."
Although the slowdown coincided with a step-up in federal enforcement actions against illegal immigrants and their employers, Frey cautioned against drawing too close a connection. He noted that the influx of Asian and African immigrants slowed by more than 60 percent, compared with 36 percent for Hispanic immigrants, who are statistically more likely to be in the country illegally.
Even with the slowdown, the number of foreign-born people in the United States reached a high of 38.1 million in 2007, accounting for 12.6 percent of the population.
The Census data also offered some unexpected insight into the driving habits of U.S. residents. Despite rising gas prices, growing concern about global warming and a proliferation of carpool-only lanes, the percentage of U.S. workers who drove to their jobs on their own remained at 76 percent from 2000 to 2007. During the same period, the share who carpooled dropped from 12 percent to 10 percent because of a slight increase in the number of those working from home.
The statistics were only slightly better for the Washington region. About 68 percent of area workers drove alone in 2007 -- up from 67 percent in 2000 -- and 11 percent carpooled. (Perhaps it's not surprising, then, that a Car Free Day sponsored by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments yesterday drew only 5,269 pledges not to use cars.)
Mark Mather, a researcher at the District-based Population Reference Bureau, said the national aversion to carpooling was probably due to the nationwide shift toward suburban counties where housing is cheaper but access to public transportation is more limited and jobs are further away.
"If you're living outside the Beltway, you really do need a car to get around," Mather said. "So even when there's an increase in gas prices, people just don't have a lot of other options."
But Lon Anderson, spokesman for AAA Mid-Atlantic, predicted that this summer's price spike would cause a "sea change."
"Hitting that $4 at the pump was a psychological turning point," he said. "People are finally saying, 'It's time to change the kind of car I'm driving, or to take mass transit or to work from home.' . . . In the first seven months of this year, Americans have already driven 58 billion miles less compared to last year."
As in previous years, the Census data confirmed the Washington area's status as one of the wealthiest in the nation. Loudoun and Fairfax counties ranked first and second among all counties, with median household incomes of $107,207 and $105,241, respectively. Howard County ranked third, and seven other local counties were in the top 20.
The region also remains among the nation's most educated, with almost 38.3 percent of Arlington County adults over 25 holding advanced degrees, the highest share for any county in the nation.
I am curious if you will tooting that same horn when they take your weapons and we end up like Great Britain?This is easy for the dumb people that don't deserve to live here.
How about your freedom that is kept by the people that serve. The same freedom that allows you to make these stupid posts. If you don't like it vote, make a change. If that isn't enough for you then move the hell out, we won't miss you.
I don't know if you have ever read the constitution, the second amendment, or heard of the NRA, but there are plenty of reasons that will keep them from ever taking our guns. Maybe you think that we will bend over and let them have whatever they want, this is obviouly not true. They get voted into these positions and a lot of votes are from gun loving americans.I am curious if you will tooting that same horn when they take your weapons and we end up like Great Britain?
You are one of those idiots that thinks its "unamerican" to question the government right? Well here's a news flash bub, questioning the government is what makes this country what it is... you cut them even a little slack and you're going to be wishing you were living in Canada, the majority of the people running this country do not have you and your well being in mind when they make decisions... its time you man up and admit that fact. ALWAYS! QUESTION! THE GOVERNMENT!... the populous needs to be part of the checks and balances system (something that is no longer practiced by the 'so called' separation of powers).
This is the last post that I will make in this stupid thread.You still didn't answer my question, Mr. Uberawesome-True-Patriot.
A real thinker amongst men...
Watch the news much??? It happened in DC!I don't know if you have ever read the constitution, the second amendment, or heard of the NRA, but there are plenty of reasons that will keep them from ever taking our guns. Maybe you think that we will bend over and let them have whatever they want, this is obviouly not true. They get voted into these positions and a lot of votes are from gun loving americans.
You're welcome. My time at NASA was like living a dream.I personally think the world of NASA... such an amazing organization. What other organization exists in the world whose ONLY purpose is to investigate the unknown, push mankind in a direction it has never been before? I personally think the US could achieve WAY more security for its money through NASA than it does from the military program.
The feds should have absolutely no, and I repeat, no hand the education system whatsoever. I am on the board of a local private school that provides education for kids that don't fit neatly into the "system". Most public school funding comes from taxing property owners, so the decision making should be at the local level. If I'm being taxed by my local school board, then I should have a say in how the schools are run. And I do.Not surprisingly, I think public education (not necessarily "public schools", but a centralized government funded program) is extremely important. You can call it wealth distribution or whatever you like, but I emphatically support a society that values education. As long as the money being put into the program isn't squandered and tangible results are being achieved I have no problem paying into such a system. I also have no problems paying extra for kids of under privileged families... regardless of how much of a deadbeat their parents are.
And you had me thinking you were a libertarian. Are you aware that many of the Blue Cross Blue Shield companies are non-profits? And for those that are "for profit", their returns are on the low side for average "for profit" firms? I would propose to you that a for profit firm will tend to improve over time whereas a government run entity has no such impetus for improvement.To an extent, I feel the same about health care. I think governments are uniquely suited to provide this service because they're not in a position where they need to turn a profit. I don't mind helping pay into a system that is for the common good of the people.
What did you used to do for NASA?You're welcome. My time at NASA was like living a dream.
Yea, I know there's some overlap with the military... but NASA doesn't get nearly as much funding as it should.However, I don't think you realize how closely the military and NASA work together. Most of the work done at NASA and for the military is done by contractors (Boeing, LockheedMartin, Ford Aerospace, Booz-Allen, etc.). They found out a long time ago that it's a whole lot more efficient to have contractors bid on the work and if they don't perform, they get new contractors. The military is relatively efficient at meeting its needs. The politicians, with their need to keep military production going in their home towns are who muck things up. Just look at the stink over the F22 program.
Well, I wasn't really referring solely to the American government(s), I think some basic/broad standards should be in place as well as a system to collect funds at a fairly high level... Exactly what level "runs" the system isn't that important as long as everyone has access it it. I think tax dollars should be attached to the students, and parents should be allowed to bring/send their children to any school they want. Make schools compete for students (by having excellent academic achievements, arts/music programs, athletics programs... etc) let parents decide what's best.The feds should have absolutely no, and I repeat, no hand the education system whatsoever. I am on the board of a local private school that provides education for kids that don't fit neatly into the "system". Most public school funding comes from taxing property owners, so the decision making should be at the local level. If I'm being taxed by my local school board, then I should have a say in how the schools are run. And I do.
Naw, I definitely wouldn't really consider myself a libertarian... But I do agree with most of Dr. Paul's opinions... and I think he would have made an excellent president. But truthfully, some of his views are a touch too conservative for me. I'm somewhere between a true conservative and a liberal depending on the issues. By American standards that makes me a borderline communist...And you had me thinking you were a libertarian. Are you aware that many of the Blue Cross Blue Shield companies are non-profits? And for those that are "for profit", their returns are on the low side for average "for profit" firms? I would propose to you that a for profit firm will tend to improve over time whereas a government run entity has no such impetus for improvement.
I agree that tort reform is a HUGE problem... I personally think the loser pays system that we have in Canada is much more effective... specially at deterring frivolous lawsuits.A relatively simple way to reduce costs would be use the "level playing field" approach. First, set up an independent national oversight board to review malpractice cases and pull a doctor's license if warranted. Couple this with Tort reform to eliminate malpractice awards and you would cut 20-30% of medical costs immediately. Again, if you don't want to be subject to this, you could contract with a doctor personally and take your chances. I have a binding arbitration clause in all the contracts I make with customers. It keeps both of us "honest".
Second, make it illegal for States to prevent people from buying health insurance from anywhere they please. I am a huge supporter of States' rights, but the founding fathers intended that people should be able to freely trade across State borders without hinderance. This would promote the necessary competition.
Third, remove the preferential tax treatment of employer provided healthcare. Why should a union member with a cadillac health plan or a salaried worker get preferential treatment over a person who has to buy health coverage on their own? End the tax break and allow people to buy their own health coverage like they buy car insurance. I don't think there should be a home mortgage deduction either, but that's another subject. Once people start shopping, you'll see more innovative and cheaper plans.
That's one of the reason why I think a government run/mandated program tend to work out better. Everyone is covered, everyone pays... young people don't get to game the system. You pay into the system until your day comes... if your day never comes, count your blessings. If the government does it's job correctly and the projections work out you regardless of pre-existing conditions get medical care. Sure some people cost more to the system than others, but it's a numbers game... more people paying into the system the more the risk is spread out.Fourth, and I honestly don't have a good answer for this one. How do we deal with pre-existing conditions? It would be easy to say that a person should not be refused for pre-exisiting conditions. But, as has been shown in Massachusetts, people game the system. Many younger people don't pay into the system (even preferring to pay the cheaper fine), then when they have a problem, they sign up for insurance.
I've had multiple businesses and I've personally paid as much as $35,000 per month to cover employees. So I've put my money where my mouth is, so to speak. I hate the annual, "aren't you lucky your increase is only 15%" discussion.
I agree with you on the Obama plan... thus far it has been fairly pathetic attempt at "reform". There have been very few legitimate steps taken at controlling the costs, which is the main problem. He's already in bed with big pharma cutting backdoor prescription drug deals... But the reality is, getting something, anything in place now is going to make the process of enhancing it/reforming in the future much easier/less painful.I just get the feeling that Obama is disingenuous when I ignores tort reform and pushed a government run health program. I know privately run, many of them non-profit, organizations can do it cheaper, if given the chance.