Friday, September 22, 2006



WSJ covers a new study showing that educators are woefully unqualified... I know it was true when I was in college. The worst students were the Ed majors (I knew the exceptions).

Schools of education have gotten bad grades before. Yet there are some truly shocking statistics about teacher training in this week's report from the Education Schools Project. According to "Educating School Teachers," three-quarters of the country's 1,206 university-level schools of education don't have the capacity to produce excellent teachers. More than half of teachers are educated in programs with the lowest admission standards (often accepting 100% of applicants) and with "the least accomplished professors." When school principals were asked to rate the skills and preparedness of new teachers, only 40% on average thought education schools were doing even a moderately good job.

New NBER Research

Contigent Valuation for Childhood Obesity

Willingness to Pay For Drug Rehabilitation

I think the assumptions and underlying premises are false, not to mention the conclusions. I don't think it is appropriate to apply the average or median WTP (willingness to pay) from some individuals surveyed and then apply it to the entire population. That might be the normal practice in the research, but it seems inaccurate and likely to overestimate the total WTP.

Conclusions: Clients' median willingness to pay for drug rehabilitation fell short of the average program costs of $82 per week, which reinforces the need for continued subsidization as drug treatment has high positive externalities. Clients will pay more for higher rates of treatment success and for the presence of case management.

The conclusion reached from the Drug Rehabilitation study (above) is problematic because of its intitial assumption that heroin users desire rehabilitation over continued drug use. This is paternalism at work. So we need to subsidize rehab, to fill the gap. Has anybody ever asked why there was a gap in the first place?

Lastly, WSJ covers human right violators. Nothing new needs to be said about that one.

Inside American Education by Thomas Sowell arrives at many of the same conclusions. Probably the first book by a free market economist I ever read, I was a teacher at the time.
I recently published an article on drug rehab – here is a quote from it, in case you are interested:

Here are some alternatives you should think of:
Free standing inpatient drug rehab program – short term program for less severe addictions;
Inpatient drug rehab program – rehabilitation unit – for severe mental and physical disabilities;
Inpatient drug rehab program – detoxification unit – in general this program takes place on an outpatient basis, but sometimes withdrawal from either drugs or alcohol presupposes extreme measures to prevent relapse. It is important to help patients to change their old habits, and this may happen only through a longer-term disruption from the environment where everything remembers them of the urge to return to the substance of their addiction;
Long term residential drug rehab program – is important for those who would relapse easily (youth, chronic addicts, patients with more than one diagnosis etc.).

If you feel this help, please drop by my website for additional information, such as drug rehab center information or additional resources on drug and alcohol rehab .


Mike Rad
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