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HKS in the News July 30, 2012

1. Obama Gives It Another College Try (Grayson) The Wall Street Journal

2. Of bureaucracy and Betty Crocker (Kelman) Federal Computer Week

3. LePage’s plan to force schools to reimburse colleges for remedial education rejected in other states (Peterson) The Bangor Daily News (Maine)

4. Liz misses chance to blast Brown (Parker) The Boston Herald

5. Managing the endgame' in Syria (Freilich) World News Australia


Obama Gives It Another College Try

The Wall Street Journal

July 28

Quoted: Trey Grayson, Institute of Politics

Topic: President Obama’s campaign

President Barack Obama's campaign, needing an army of young supporters even more than it did four years ago, is out to re-energize a crucial voting bloc whose enthusiasm has flagged with the job market. …

Mitt Romney's camp is hardly conceding the youth vote. Joshua Baca, the national coalitions director for the presumptive Republican presidential candidate, said the campaign is rolling out an "unprecedented" get-out-the-vote effort in partnership with College Republicans, especially in swing states.

"This is a critical bloc," said Trey Grayson, director of the Harvard Institute of Politics and a former Republican secretary of state in Kentucky. "Romney has got to do better than McCain did, and if he does that, it gives him an ability to win some of these close states." …

Read More (subscription may be required)


Of bureaucracy and Betty Crocker

Federal Computer Week

July 27

Commentary by: Steven Kelman

Topic: The effect of rules on job performance

A theme always on the agenda in one of the classes I teach in executive education programs here at Harvard is the virtues and drawbacks of rules as a way to design organizations. We walk through the good, the bad, the ugly, and the management challenges of managing in a rules-bound organizational environment.

One point that always comes out in discussion is that rules and procedures can help employees figure out how to do their jobs well by reflecting knowledge and lessons learned from experience or from research. If we know that doing A, B, and C will almost always produce a good result, why keep A, B, and C secret from employees? …

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LePage’s plan to force schools to reimburse colleges for remedial education rejected in other states

The Bangor Daily News

July 27

Quoted: Paul Peterson, The Program on Education Policy and Governance

Topic: Maine’s education system

Gov. Paul LePage overstated claims about how badly Maine students do academically as well as the uniqueness of his plan to fix the problem, according to some education and state policy experts. …

LePage also has been criticized for basing his criticisms Wednesday of Maine’s education system on a Harvard University study released earlier this month that found that in 2011, Maine ranked 40th out of 41 participating states in terms of its rate of improvement on a standardized test known as the National Assessment of Educational Progress. That followed years of Maine ranking near the top in the nation on the standardized test. …

Paul Peterson , professor of government at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and director of the Program on Education Policy and Governance, said the study did find that in general, states that were performing poorly 20 years ago have shown some of the highest rates of improvement. However, he noted that there are also examples of states, such as New Jersey and Delaware, that had high scores 20 years ago and still have made enough progress to rank near the top in the Harvard study. …

“Maine is one of those states that hasn’t shown much gain over this period of time,” said Peterson. “I would say this is a wake-up call. There’s no reason why a high-performing state can’t move up.” …

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Liz misses chance to blast Brown

The Boston Herald

July 30

Quoted: Richard Parker, Shorenstein Center

Topic: The senatorial race in Massachusetts

No doubt Sen. Scott Brown is happy New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has endorsed him, but the senator probably wishes the mayor hadn’t thrown him head first into the tempestuous waters of the gun control debate in the process. Luckily for Brown, his opponent essentially threw him a life preserver.

Bloomberg, an outspoken advocate of strengthening gun control laws, said his endorsement was based on Brown’s opposition to granting concealed-carry license holders reciprocity rights across state lines. …

The mayor’s reasoning, given the senator’s mixed record on gun control, created a potential “worrisome moment for the Brown campaign,” saidRichard Parker, longtime political consultant and senior fellow at Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center. ...

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Managing the endgame' in Syria

World News Australia

July 30

Commentary by: Charles Freilich, Belfer Center

Topic: The effect that the collapse of the Assad regime would have on the Middle East

After 40 years of brutalizing its own people, the Assad regime, one of the most heinous on earth, is approaching its fiery end. For decades Syria's radical policies made it a regional spoiler and it now has the potential to ignite an already combustible Middle Eastern landscape.

In the absence of any American and Western intention to intervene militarily, and given Russia's and China's diplomatic obstructionism, international involvement in Syria has been inconsequential. The Annan plan, based on the illusory premise that Assad would undertake domestic reform, could not possibly have succeeded, for the reforms envisaged would have guaranteed his demise. He was thus left with no alternative but to pay lip service to international demands, to stave off possible intervention, while pursuing the only route available to him to ensure his survival – brutal repression. …

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Broadcast Notes

Lawrence Summers, Mossavar-Rahmani Center

APM, “Marketplace,” 7/30

Topic: Equality of opportunity in America

David Gergen, Center for Public Leadership

NPR, “Talk of the Nation,” 7/27

Topic: Science and the U.S. presidential election

Stephen Walt, Belfer Center

NPR, “All Things Considered,” 7/29

Topic: Mitt Romney’s commitment To Israel

Stephen Walt will also be on The Daily Circuit (Minnesota Public Radio) today live at 12pm EDT


This selection of media appearances is compiled by the Office of Communications and Public Affairs.

To submit an item please email Jane Finn-Foley


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