State of the Union Address Tonight

Instead of watching the SOTU tonight, why not download the talking points from the White House and read through everything.

Mostly, it contains bullet point after bullet point after bullet point, so it will not be too difficult to do.

Homework – again, instead of watching, use the time to go through the linked document above and ask the following two questions frequently.

  1. Where in the U.S. Constitution does it say the federal government is supposed to provide this program? Some are clearly the responsibility of the feds (national security) and others are not (health care and education). For reference, I’ve got the Constitution along with the Bill of Rights and additional Amendments here on the site.
  2. How much will all of this stuff cost?

That’s it. Move along towards your assignment. I’m going to watch the Last King of Scotland.

The Cost of Education

Walter Williams posted his column yesterday that dealt with the average cost paid – per year I assume – by public secondary education schools in the U.S. compared to other countries. He also looks quickly at the academic results posted by the U.S. Department of Education1. We’re not doing all that well; ranked 33rd in industrialized countries when it comes to math and science. (No data is available on reading due to some sort of glitch.)

Of course, democrats want to throw more cash at the problem, but a 2005 study by a good friend at clearly indicated that in the town of Windsor, Connecticut – and in the state as a whole – there is absolutely no correlation between the dollars spent per kid and academic results. As a matter of fact, there is no correlation between student to teacher ratios, class size or the number of computers in the classroom either.

The only clear correlation was between test scores and median income of the family. Well isn’t that interesting?

Of course, a democrats answer might be just to give cash directly to families to increase their median income, but we all know that won’t work.

Instead, we should be looking at those outlier towns that spend less per student and get better academic results. What are they doing differently?

1Of course, we all know that there is no authority in the U.S. Constitution to create or fund this department. That responsibility, since it is not listed specifically in the Constitution, is given to the states or the people.