a service of NPRI

August 30, 2006 
Vol. 2, No. 13

Also in this issue:

National expert to testify on
‘ed funding adequacy’ studies

L.A. mayor's school plan passes Senate, but legal battles loom

Vegas growth faces
more BLM resistance

rules tighten up

Scores drop on
revamped SAT

eBay bounces the homeschoolers

MySpace cowboys


School funding is
adequate, results are not

Face it: The
housing bust is here

Why are we worse off?

Money and the stock market: What is the relation?



School funding is adequate, results are not

By Brandon Dutcher
Oklahoma Council
of Public Affairs

In January Oklahoma’s largest labor union, the Oklahoma Education Association (OEA), filed a lawsuit claiming that school funding in Oklahoma is inadequate. On July 28 an Oklahoma County district judge dismissed the lawsuit. Now it’s time to address education’s real problems.

The union says education has reached “a crisis state.” That’s true, but it’s not a funding crisis.

Data derived from a March 2006 Census Bureau report tell us, for example, that the Plainview School District is managing to spend $25,667 per student. The Sweetwater School District spends $20,014 per student. The Reydon School District spends $17,686 per student.


Face it: The housing bust is here

Growing numbers of homeowners can’t make payments.

By Bill Fleckenstein
MSM Money

Back on June 12, 2005, Time Magazine chose this headline for its cover: “Home $weet Home: Why We’re Going Gaga Over Real Estate.” I did not share the euphoria, as I believed that the housing bubble was about to peak.

In fact, in my column two months later -- the headline of which, “It’s RIP for the housing boom,” stood in stark contrast -- I said that Time’s cover would be shown in retrospect as basically having marked the peak. That real-time view little more than a year ago has been validated, regrettably. 


Cost of living

Why are we worse off?

By Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.

New wage data indicate what you might have suspected. Average wages are not keeping up with the cost of living. This has given rise to claims that we live in the first sustained period of economic growth that has failed to offer a similarly sustained increase in real wages. Indeed, wages have declined in real terms by 2 percent in the last three years. The first concern is political. The Democrats, despite their moderating image, carry with them the intellectual baggage of a Marxist morality play in which business skims the excess productivity of labor’s value. This new data is framed in a way that plays right into this model. Productivity is up, the rich are richer, but the workers are losing out. Meanwhile, the Republicans have a very strange response, as typified by the comments of pollster Frank Luntz. The bad economic news would not do serious damage to Republicans, he said, because voters will blame corporate America and not government for their problems.


The Fed
Money and the stock market: What is the relation?

By Frank Shostak
Ludwig von
Mises Institute

Is it true that changes in stock prices are predominantly set by changes in money supply? At some level, it makes sense that an increase in the rate of growth of money supply strengthens the rate of increase in stock prices. Conversely, a fall in the rate of growth of money supply should slow down the growth momentum of stock prices.

The chart below seems to indicate that the yearly rate of growth of the combined South East Asian stock prices has a good visual correlation with the yearly rate of growth of the combined money M1.

Austrians have generally accepted this causal connection, though for different reasons than others, as I will explain.


WHY BusinessNevada

The Trojan Horse amendment

Union bosses would get new power to sell workers out if the minimum wage ballot measure passes this fall

By Steven Miller

Unwitting Nevada voters appear all set to send out an engraved invitation this November — to the Mob.

“C’mon back,” the invitation would say. “Because we fell asleep at the switch, we’ve passed a scheme that rolls out the red carpet for you!”

The scheme in question is buried in the “minimum-wage” constitutional amendment pushed by the state’s union bosses. Passed with little discussion in 2004, the ballot measure goes before voters again this fall. If approved, its language becomes a permanent part of the Nevada Constitution.


State waste
National expert to testify on ‘ed funding adequacy’ studies

NPRI news release

A controversial state-financed study that last week recommended a $$438 million per-year increase in Nevada government education spending already has become the object of severe academic criticisms.

Scheduled to appear before state lawmakers on Thursday is Richard P. Phelps, Ph.D., of Massachusetts, author of Thoroughly Inadequate: The 'School Funding Adequacy' Evasion, a white paper released Monday by the Nevada Policy Research Institute.

The paper levels detailed criticisms against both the methodology and premises used by the Colorado firm of Augenblick, Palaich and Associates (APA), in its Nevada study, issued last week. The Phelps paper also addresses the more fundamental question, “If money is not the answer [to Nevada’s education woes], what is?”


School wars
L.A. mayor's school plan passes Senate, but legal battles loom

By Aaron C. Davis
Associated Press Writer

California’s state Senate Monday voted to grant Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa unprecedented powers over the city's troubled schools, even as critics blasted the plan as unconstitutional and the mayor acknowledged that legal battles might prevent him from taking control any time soon.


L.A. mayor flexes muscle with school board

Los Angeles Times

With passage of the bill to increase his role in the district virtually certain, Villaraigosa threatens to fire any superintendent hired without his OK.

[continued] (requires registration)

Real estate
Vegas growth faces
more BLM resistance

By Brian Wargo
InBusiness Las Vegas

The Bureau of Land Management has launched an environmental study that will determine whether Las Vegas would lose thousands of acres that could be developed because of the need to preserve prehistoric animal fossils.


rules tighten up

Receiving drug counseling
to no longer count as ‘work’

By Ian Mylchreest
LV Business Press

Last week, many officials celebrated the success of ending welfare as we knew it 10 years ago. Writing in The New York Times, President Bill Clinton congratulated himself on bridging the gap between Democrats and Republicans: “While we compromised to reach an agreement, we never betrayed our principles and we passed a bill that worked and stood the test of time.”


Entry-level workers
Scores drop on
revamped SAT

Education Week

Average SAT scores for this year’s high school graduates—the first class to have undergone the revamped test that was introduced in March 2005—dipped 7 points below last year’s composite scores for both the mathematics and critical-reading sections, according to a report released today by the College Board, the New York City-based nonprofit organization that sponsors the test.


SAT records drop
biggest in 31 years

USA Today

The high school class of 2006 recorded the sharpest drop in SAT scores in 31 years, a decline that the exam’s owner, the College Board, said was partly due to some students taking the newly lengthened test only once instead of twice.



eBay bounces the

If you’re a homeschooling parent looking for good textbooks, don’t bother with eBay


A new policy by Internet trading behemoth eBay that bans homeschool teachers’ texts from its auctions is prompting an avalanche of complaints from the company’s faithful customers.

“Really the homeschooling community is a huge participant in eBay when you get to thinking about it,” said one customer who was identified as “angels*wings” on an eBay blog. “We buy textbooks naturally but we also purchase items like microscopes, slides, globes, maps, manipulatives, educational games, reading books, supplies for our classrooms … stickers, idea books, folders, sheet protectors, school supplies, software, educational movies, models, post cards … the list is enormous.”

The policy, which is inclusive of all teachers’ texts, was made known recently as those who were auctioning various books watched as their postings were deleted.


MySpace cowboys

They run the fastest-growing Web site on the planet. They have 100 million friends. Not bad for two guys who just wanted a place to hang out.

By Patricia Sellers
Fortune editor-at-large

One night this past April, Tom Anderson was surfing MySpace.com, as he does for hours every night, when he spotted a link to something called kSolo on another member’s profile page. The service, Anderson learned, lets you record karaoke online and e-mail songs to friends. A karaoke man himself (he used to be the lead singer in a band called Swank), he immediately tried kSolo - playing a scorching anthem called “Cowboys From Hell” by the thrash-metal band Pantera.

“It was cheesy but great,” Anderson says. The next day, he told his business partner, Chris DeWolfe, to check out the site.


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