This week’s Bloggers Briefing, hosted by The Heritage Foundation, featured a number of speakers looking at some of the current issues that the Obama Administration is looking to tackle in the next several weeks, including Health Care Reform and Education.

The first guest was Bob Graboyes, who is the senior health care adviser at the National Federation of Independent Business. The NFIB has been very involved in the ongoing debate about how to reform the American Health Care system, and Mr. Graboyes had much to say about what may be ahead as the Congress tries to complete work on HCR.
Mr. Graboyes stressed the need for focusing on small business when looking at how to fix Health Care: the “easiest fixes for this” are “market-based approaches” said Graboyes. The other theme of Mr. Graboyes discussion centered around the need for real ideas, and that everyone must work together to solve the issue of Health Care reform. That being said, he also voiced his angst towards the legislation currently on the table.
Heritage’s Lindsey Burke discussed President Obama’s Budget, specifically the education portion and some of the concerns that the Heritage Foundation has with where the spending is targeted; and not targeted for that matter.
Burke talked about the increases in the education budget this year and how regardless of the money that has been spent in certain areas, there is “no significant impact on academic achievement.” The statistic that she emphasized was that the U.S. spends $10,000/pupil annually, yet the corresponding gains are not seen in terms of the output.
Burke also talked about some of the Heritage Foundations most important points about why they feel the Obama Budget doesn’t help kids in America’s schools:
  • Education budget values public sector work over private sector work
  • Education budget does nothing to deal with the problem of college affordability.
  • HHS study that shows “no significant impact” for students who were in the Federal Head Start program, yet there is a $1billion increase in the HHS budget.
The final speaker was Dr. Richard Brake, Director of University Stewardship at the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, was on hand to discuss ISI’s American Civil Literacy Program.
Brake talked about the gap in what college students are learning with respect to subjects like American History and Economics, to name a few. The ISI looked at what exactly a college education is giving students in terms of how they are taught the basic subjects. The study also asked college students, what are they learning? Brake gave some insight into what the study found, “if you’re more Civically literate, you actually have a greater respect for America’s institutions.”
The education issues dominated the briefing this week, and it was really eye-opening to look at not only what the Obama Budget would be focused on in terms of education spending, but also what the outcomes of the all the money being spent has, or has not been over time.