The Leaflet: How To Use Rewards to Help Children Learn

Published December 18, 2014

How To Use Rewards to Help Children Learn

“By most accounts, the American education system is not working well. Children appear to be learning less in school today than they did a generation ago.”
-Bruce Maclaury, president, Brookings Institution, foreword to Politics, Markets, and America’s Schools, 1990

Since the time of that writing, state and local elected officials have tried a host of costly reforms to improve public education. Real per-pupil spending (adjusted for inflation) more than doubledbetween 1970 and 2005. According to a National Bureau of Economic Research working paper, if schools were as productive today as they were in 1970–71, the average 17-year-old would have a score that fewer than 5 percent of 17-year-olds currently attain.

In a new book from The Heartland Institute, titled Rewards: How to use rewards to help children learn – and why teachers don’t use them well, Heartland’s Chairman Herb Walberg and President Joseph Bast discuss reforms policymakers need to pass to deliver real results to improve education and save taxpayers money. Those reforms include vouchers, education savings accounts, parent triggers, and charter schools. By now, you should have received your free copy ofRewards. To request additional copies, please contact State Government Relations Manager Logan Pike at [email protected], or by phone at 312/377-4000.

Your Experience with Rewards
We are all internally motivated sometimes to do the right thing or try hard. But at other times, we need external motivation. Our children and students are no different. Using rewards at home and in class can help children focus on their studies, achieve more academically, graduate on time, and become more productive members of society. Have you used rewards at home or in the classroom to bring out the best in a child? We’d love to hear your story! Enter your story at the Rewards website and you may be REWARDED with a $25 Amazon Giftcard! Read more

FCC Votes to Increase E-rate Telecom Taxes
Matt Hurley writes in this Heartlander article about the Federal Communications Commission’s recent vote to hike fees on consumers’ wireless services to subsidize the cost of Internet connectivity for public libraries and schools, a program known as E-rate. The E-rate program receives $2.25 billion annually in consumers’ money through the Universal Service Fund, a line-item fee tacked on to the bills for consumers’ wireless devices. Hurley covers the responses from supporters and critics of the E-rate hike. Read more

Budget & Tax
Research & Commentary: New Jersey Motor Fuel Tax Increase
Legislators in New Jersey are considering a gas tax hike so large it would move the state from having one of the lowest gas taxes in the country to one of the highest. The bill would increase the state’s 14.5 cent gas tax, unchanged since 1988, by at least 25 cents a gallon. In this Research & Commentary Senior Policy Analyst Matthew Glans says motor fuel tax revenues will continue to decline as vehicles become increasingly fuel-efficient. “States will have to explore more modern and efficient ways to fund road construction and traffic infrastructure. These include privatizing roads and establishing toll systems. In several cities, transportation agencies are using congestion pricing – varying toll prices based on congestion – to manage demand and limit traffic problems.” Read more

Health Care
Research & Commentary: Medical Device Tax Update
Senior Policy Analyst Matthew Glans examines an area of the Affordable Care Act that has received little attention but is increasing health care costs and eliminating jobs: ACA’s tax on medical devices. As of January 1, 2013, ACA requires manufacturers to pay a 2.3 percent excise tax on the medical devices they produce to help fund health care expansion. As part of ACA’s labyrinthine funding scheme, the government imposes the tax on a wide variety of manufactured medical devices, such as pacemakers, but excludes products such as eyeglasses and hearing aids sold directly to consumers and not through their insurance at a hospital. Glans says the medical device tax is poorly designed and serves only to increase health care costs and kill product innovation, while costing the nation thousands of jobs. The will to repeal this burdensome tax already exists: in March the U.S. Senate voted overwhelmingly (79–20) for a nonbinding budget resolution to repeal the tax.  Read more

Energy & Environment
Fracking Leads to Economic Growth, Rapid Job Creation in North Dakota
In light of the Cuomo Administration’s decision to ban hydraulic fracturing in New York, Environment & Climate News reports the oil-booming state of North Dakota has a projected budget surplus of $600 million, an unemployment rate of 2.8% , and a growing population. Read more

From Our Free-Market Friends
State Budget Reform Toolkit
Today, many states face operational deficits created by overspending. State legislators have tried to “fix” state budget gaps by simply postponing or concealing the problems rather than addressing them directly. “ALEC’s State Budget Reform Toolkit will advance a set of budget and procurement best practices to guide state policymakers as they work to solve the current budget shortfalls, assisting legislators in prioritizing and more efficiently delivering core government services through advancing Jeffersonian principles of free markets, limited government, federalism, and individual liberty.” Read more






The December issue of Budget & Tax News reports voters in the November midterm elections rewarded reform-minded governors for their leadership on budget and tax issues. Incumbents Nikki Haley of South Carolina and Scott Walker of Wisconsin, and newcomer Bruce Rauner in Illinois, were among those leading the GOP wave.

Health Care News

School Reform News

Environment & Climate News