Heritage expert Lindsay Burke and Kennesaw State University Benjamin Scafidi use data from Washington, DC schools to explain in the Daily Signal that a large reason the rising cost of public education is increased hiring of administrative staff:

Since 1950, public schools all across America have added staff at a rapid rate—much faster than their increases in students.

According to data that the District of Columbia Public Schools submitted to the U.S. Department of Education, the District’s public schools experienced a 3.1 percent decline in its student population between the 1993-94 and 2013-14 school years. Despite this decline in students, D.C. Public Schools increased its staffing by 7.7 percent (all increases are in full-time equivalents).

The long-term bloat of public school staff in the District of Columbia shows that parents across the country need innovative and more effective ways to control education spending for their children, instead of letting the school district continue to fritter it away with hiring non-lead-teachers. As researcher Matthew Ladner has documented, those students who choose to attend private school instead of the struggling public schools in D.C. get far less money to spend on their education:

Burke and Scafidi recommend the adoption of education savings accounts–which fund the child, not the school system–as an alternative to traditional public school financing:

Through this option, parents would receive a portion of the funds spent on their child in the traditional public school system, and could then use those funds to pay for a variety of education-related services, products, and providers, including private school tuition, online learning, special education services and therapies, textbooks, and host of other products.

Do you believe the growth in public school staffing is justified? Do you think ESAs are the solution?

In response to the 2008 financial collapse, liberals in Congress rushed through a financial reform bill known as the Dodd-Frank Act. It imposed onerous new regulations in the financial industry without doing much to prevent future banking crises.

Heritage is playing a key role in replacing the Dodd-Frank Act. We worked with House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) on the Financial CHOICE Act, a draft of which was recently released. Heritage also published a book detailing the problems with Dodd-Frank and explaining how conservative principles will address those problems.

Here are ten principles that would create a better approach to financial breakdowns:

  1. Private and competitive financial markets are essential for healthy economic growth.
  2. The government should not interfere with the financial choices of market participants, including consumers, investors, and uninsured financial firms. Regulators should focus on protecting individuals and firms from fraud and violations of contractual rights.
  3. Market discipline is a better regulator of financial risk than government regulation.
  4. Financial firms should be permitted to fail, just as other firms are. Government should not “save” participants from failure because doing so impedes the ability of markets to direct resources to their highest and best use.
  5. Speculation and risk-taking allow markets to operate. Interference by regulators attempting to mitigate risks hinders the effective operation of markets.
  6. Government should not make credit and capital allocation decisions.
  7. The cost of financial firm failures should be borne by managers, equity holders, and creditors, not by taxpayers.
  8. Simple rules—such as straightforward equity capital requirements—are preferable to complex rules that permit regulators to micromanage markets.
  9. Public-private partnerships in the financial realm often create financial instability because they create rent-seeking opportunities and misalign incentives.
  10. Government backing for financial activities, such as classifying certain firms or activities as “systemically important,” inevitably leads to government bailouts.

Do you believe the Dodd-Frank act should be replaced? Why or why not?

The hacking of Democratic National Committee emails is about more than the contents of the messages. Peter Brooks, a national security expert for Heritage, explains in the Boston Herald that potential Russian involvement in the attack should give us pause:

This, unfortunately, is only the tip of the Russian cyber iceberg. In 2015, Russian cyber spies reportedly got into the unclassified computer systems of the White House, the U.S. State Department, and the Defense Department/Pentagon, including that of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Russian government or state-sponsored hackers have been implicated infamously in offensive cyber operations against Ukraine’s electrical grid (2015), Georgia’s government (2008) and Estonia’s government and private sector (2007), just to name a few…

Kremlin and pro-Kremlin cybersoldiers are also well-known for pushing Russian propaganda via its “troll army” and “sock puppet” social media accounts, which pump out Moscow’s world views and dog Kremlin critics.

Cyber ops can be low risk and high payoff for the sponsor — and whether it’s politically sensitive emails, valuable intellectual property info, national security secrets or modern warfare, we seem to remain disturbingly vulnerable.

Do you believe Russia is behind the hacks?

Delegates to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia approved a new party platform this week.

Heritage experts weighed in on the platform’s key planks–among them free college tuition, more then doubling the minimum wage, and taxing carbon–and explained the effects the proposals would have if implemented.

Do you believe this platform effectively solves the problems we face today?

Liberals have proposed raising the national minimum wage to $15 per hour, which more than doubles the current rate. This could cost seven million jobs.

Heritage economist James Sherk lays out the reasons why this raise would have a negative impact across our economy.

Raising minimum wages to $15 per hour has quickly gone from a fringe idea to a serious policy proposal. Such an increase would bring the federal minimum wage into uncharted territory. At that level, the minimum wage would cover one-third of the U.S. workforce—37.5 million FTE jobs. The increase would have particularly large effects on states with lower costs of living. Including the cost of mandatory employer taxes, minimum hiring costs for a full-time worker would rise to $18.61 per hour.

Such a large increase in starting wages would make it difficult for less skilled workers to find jobs. Employers will not pay workers more than the value they produce. Employers would respond by reducing employment of affected workers by approximately one-fifth, eliminating roughly seven million FTE jobs.

Do you believe raising the minimum wage to $15 is a good idea?  Why or why not?

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