News & Commentary - Archive 2013

June 6, 2013

The summit between Barack Obama and Xi Jinping is a huge - and challenging - opportunity. Domestic, regional and global factors are making the current situation a strategic inflection point, writes Bruce W. Jentleson.

Having been in Beijing in April for a conference and for the past month in Australia giving a series of lectures and engaging with regional strategists, I have even more of a sense of these intersecting inflection points.

June 4, 2013

The Obama administration deserves praise for its recent strong support for greater investments in early childhood education. With reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (No Child Left Behind in its current incarnation) stalled in Congress, and the many valid concerns about narrow test-based initiatives that do nothing to address the challenges of children from disadvantaged families, this new direction is a welcome change. In addition, it has the potential be a winner because it should gain the support of both Republicans and Democrats.

May 31, 2013

If you are a parent of one of the 50 million public schoolchildren in the United States, the odds are your child has taken a standardized test within the past few weeks. The odds also suggest that you took such a test yourself once upon a time, though probably not as early or as often as your kids. You and your children have the federal No Child Left Behind Act to thank for the modern ubiquity of standardized testing.

May 31, 2013

Sanford School Assistant Professor of Public Policy Nick Carnes has won two awards from the American Political Science Association (APSA), the Carl Albert Dissertation Award for best doctoral dissertation in the area of legislative studies, and the Sage Paper Award for best paper in comparative politics.

May 30, 2013

Jenni Owen, lecturer in public policy at the Sanford School and director of policy initiatives at the Duke Center for Child and Family Policy, offered suggestions for implementing the Obama administration’s preschool initiative during a panel discussion on May 29 in Washington, D.C.

May 29, 2013

Recent news reports make clear that the Republican supermajority in the North Carolina General Assembly is getting many of its worst ideas for how to change our state from the Washington, D.C.-based American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Every citizen needs to know more about ALEC and its stealth efforts to undermine our modern-day democracy.

As a U.S. historian, I am deeply alarmed at the growing power of this secretive body, founded by the longtime right-wing strategist Paul Weyrich in 1973 and bankrolled by some of the largest corporations in America.

May 24, 2013

In his speech at the National Defense University, President Obama made his most impassioned and compelling argument to date about the need to close the prison for wartime detainees at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base.

But logic and presidential will are not enough to achieve this goal. It will take an intense effort by the administration, cooperation from international partners, bipartisan congressional support and perhaps forceful assertion of presidential prerogatives to get this done in Obama’s second term. It is difficult to see how all these pieces will fall into place.

May 24, 2013

Were all those standardized tests for nothing?

Sanford School of Public Policy Professor Jacob Vigdor, co-author Thomas Ahn and a panel of education practitioners explored this question Wednesday at an event in Washington, DC, sponsored by the American Enterprise Institute.

May 18, 2013

I suspect I'm not the only one who, as contributor to and consumer of foreign policy debates, at times wonders about our value added.

For all the urgent issues of the day, do we lose sight of deeper, more fundamental ones? And to the extent that we do address some, is it so within the bounds of conventional wisdom as to crowd out real wisdom?

We can learn a lot in both regards from the youth of the world. The questions they're asking are inspiring. The answers they're providing are humbling.

May 16, 2013

The Justice Department's subpoena of Associated Press reporters' phone records undoubtedly raises important First Amendment issues. But from the media's coverage of this incident, you would think that there were absolutely no countervailing interests, that the law was clearly on the media's side, and that what the Justice Department did was blatantly unethical and wrong. This just isn't the case.